Spraying water and checking smoke-belching vehicles are nothing but piecemeal efforts. State agencies are using their own legal apparatus in a haphazard manner to no avail, which explains why polluters are let off the hook. Although several bills designed to end smog season and hold polluters accountable are soon to be debated, they face an uphill battle in parliament.
Mining in Kachin State brings up a more fundamental question about the upstream rare earth pipeline. Does the road to a clean energy economy run through murky mines in northern Myanmar?
Asean makes a new push to deal with its world-beating marine plastic waste problem. By Ismira Lutfia Tisnadibrata in Jakarta
As dam-building projects continue to proliferate along Southeast Asia’s vital Mekong River, experts in a recent online discussion panel agreed that the area is fast becoming overloaded with them, dredging up far-reaching issues ranging from international friction and industry “water grabs” to widespread ecological disasters and the growing impacts of climate change.
Similarly, Australia could prioritise its development assistance for the Mekong Delta, which is facing risks from China-backed hydroelectric dams as well as threats from climate change and environmental degradation.
Laos’ economic options, however, remain limited. Land-locked and with few trading links other than to China, Thailand and Vietnam, its economic future is restricted to debt-accruing infrastructure development and hydropower production, the key sources of its economic growth.
The Mekong’s normal flow can be restored if large volumes of water are consistently and reliably released from Chinese dam reservoirs. However, China’s water policy shows Beijing is unlikely to change its behavior and the worst for the Mekong is yet to come.
If China takes the bait and resumes this and other deeply unpopular hydropower projects in partnership with the new junta, it is likely to permanently alienate the people of Myanmar, including their democratic leaders.
Time is running out and one Stanford University expert says that things could begin to look ‘bleak’ if something is not done to address the country’s rapidly looming fertility crisis.
According to the latest Global Climate Risk Index report, published in January, Vietnam’s economy is among the most vulnerable in the world to the impacts of climate change.