Tag Archives: pollution

The Houses Built on China’s ‘Poisoned’ Land

16 Jun

Homes are being built on contaminated land in Chinese cities – and the residents of these developments have no idea

by Gao Shengke and Wang Kai / The Guardian

Photograph: Caijing

Photograph: Caijing

Gao Shengke and Wang Kai have won the prize for Best Investigation at ChinaDialogue’s and The Guardian’s China Environmental Press Awards – 2013 for their investigation into contaminated earth in Chinese cities. Here is the first of their three-part series of reports.

The excavators are rumbling and dust swirls all about at the second phase of the Kangquan New City construction project in Guanzhuang village, Chaoyang District, outside Beijing’s east fifth ring road.

A 20-metre deep pit has been dug on the site. A foul stench rises from the pile of earth that has been removed. Until now, few people knew about the secret that was buried here.

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Eco-Blogger Attacked in Russia After Exposing Chrome Factory Pollution

29 May

by Andrey Tselikov / Global Voices

Maksimovsky_rock_Chusovaya_river

A cliff on the Chusovaya River. One of the color photographs made in 1912 by Prokudin-Gorsky. Public domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Environmental protection has become a dangerous area of public activism in Russia—at least where industrial pollution is concerned. This is because eco-activists often directly oppose regional business interests, who sometimes react with force. A case in point: on May 9, 2013, unknown assailants attacked and severely beat an eco-blogger from the mid-sized industrial town of Pervouralsk (located 40 km from Yekaterinburg, in the Ural Mountains). The blogger, Stepan Chernogubov, claims that the assault was in retaliation for the publicity he is creating over a local chrome manufacturer dumping waste into the picturesque Chusovaya River.

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Hundreds of Thousands of Dead Fish Float to the Surface of Two Chinese Rivers

28 May

by Jake Maxwell Watts / Quartz

chinadeadfishLast week was not a good time to be a fish in Yunnan. Just a few days apart, the southern Chinese province suffered two mass die-offs—around 100 tons of fish on a Nanpan River reservoir and a massive 1,200 tons on the Sinan River.

The causes are elusive, but it’s the fourth time that fish have died on the Nanpan in as many years. A previous incident in October 2009 raised suspicions that a chemical plant upriver may have been responsible. Pointing fingers seems like a natural response, given previous cases—just last week eight people were arrested, including legal representatives of a mining company, for deliberately dumping chemicals in another local river. And it’s not just Yunnan. A policeman who saved a 14-year-old girl from a Wenzhou city river on Friday also ended up in hospital from exposure to pollution.

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Hundreds Protest China Battery Plant

11 May

by Jane Lee and Gabriel Wildau, Cross Posted from Reuters

People participate in a protest against a battery factory on a street of Songjiang district, on the outskirts of Shanghai

Police stood by as residents marched peacefully along a busy street in the Songjiang district of the city, gathering at an intersection near the site of a Carrefour hypermarket, chanting and holding signs saying “No factory here, we love Songjiang.”

Many wore matching t-shirts with an image of a smoky factory enclosed by the red “no” symbol.

Residents are concerned about potential waste water and gas emissions from the plant, which would be built by Hefei Guoxuan High-tech Power Energy Co Ltd.

Protests over pollution are becoming more frequent in China, as the country’s increasingly affluent urban population begins to object to the model of growth at all costs that has fueled the economy for three decades.

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Puerto Rico Struggles With Contamination 10 Years After Activists Expel U.S. Navy

2 May

Cross Posted from Democracy Now!:

“While the cleanup has taken 10 years so far, the U.S. military is only scratching the surface.” – Vieques activist

 

On the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, thousands are commemorating the 10th anniversary of when the U.S. Navy stopped using their home as a bombing range. Since the 1940s, the Navy used nearly three-quarters of the island for bombing practice, war games and dumping old munitions. The bombing stopped after campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience, but the island continues to suffer. At the current cleanup rate, the Navy says, it will take until 2025 to remove all the environmental damage left by more than 60 years of target practice. A fisherman recently discovered a giant unexploded bomb underwater. The island of about 10,000 people also lacks a hospital to treat illnesses such as asthma and cancer that may be attributed to the military’s former bombing activity. “We believe the military is really not interested in cleaning up Vieques and rather interested in continuing to punish Vieques for having thrown the U.S. Navy out in 2003,” says Robert Rabin of the Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques. “This is a process that we believe is happening with no real supervision, no genuine community participation.”

$10 Million to Injured Workers from Chevron Payout

12 Feb

A “drop in the bucket,” most of the payouts covered medical exams and treatments at hospitals for those sickened by the smoke from the Richmond, CA refinery fire.

Chevron paid approximately $10 million to cover medical expenses and other claims in the wake of the fire at its Richmond refinery on Aug. 6. Most of those payouts went to local hospitals to cover medical exams and treatment received by residents sickened by toxin-filled smoke that spread for miles after the fire.  At least 15,000 people sought medical treatment due to health issues related to the fire, and 23,900 claims had been filed as of last week to cover costs incurred due to the blaze.

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Thoughts on Ecological-Crisis, #Egypt, #Jan25, #Tahrir, and Revolutionary Struggle

25 Jan

“Shut down the arms dealers. Do not let them make it, ship it.” -From Tahrir Square, November 22, 2011

A black block participant, Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt. January 25, 2012. Source: Al-Jazeera

A black block participant, Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt. January 25, 2012. Source: Al-Jazeera

by SabiTaj Mahal,
Earth First! Journal

January 25, 2013, is the two year anniversary of a massive gathering that took place in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, that kicked off a series of events that eventually lead to the end of Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule, and the Egyptian Revolution (See: Timeline: Egypt’s Revolution)

My father spent four years in Egypt during the 1970’s. As a young spry Muslim college student from Pakistan, he chose to go to Egypt because he wanted to learn more about the historic region and learn a new language while completing his university education. As soon as I was able to talk, he told me stories of his adventures in Egypt, describing in detail his awe of the environment, and how they were special moments stuck in time. Because of this ever increasing industrial world, the Egypt my father experienced no longer exists. One of his favorite stories to share with me was when he first tasted the freshwater from the Nile:

“I drank the water from the Nile. We were on a trip going down the Nile… I forgot to bring water and I was thirsty… so I layed stomach down on the raft, cupped my hands, scooped up what I could… it was the sweetest water I ever tasted! The man who was pushing our boat told me, ‘You will now talk about Egypt for the rest of your life’. I feel lucky, because now, you can’t drink from the Nile anymore, its too polluted.”

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