April 26, 2007

Mines, Factories and the Cost of Asian Growth

Investors breathed a sigh of relief when Indonesia dismissed charges against Newmont Mining, a U.S. firm accused of dumping mercury and arsenic into Buyat Bay that locals say causes skin rashes and tumors.

But numerous tests found pollution within “normal” levels there, the BBC reports.

In Vietnam, rivers are “choking” on industrial waste, Edie News Center reports. Pollution from rapid growth is creating “dead” areas with no plants or animals, where water supplies are “not at all suitable” for domestic use or agriculture.

China admitted that pollution is a “severe threat” to its food supply as well. The BBC reports that as much as 10 percent of Chinese farmland is now unusable due to heavy metals, fertilizer overuse and solid waste.

A new report also blames Chinese industry for almost 50 percent of the mercury contamination in Korea, and from 20 to 30 percent of the mercury found in U.S. rivers and soil.

Sources:

“U.S. mine firm cleared of pollution”
BBC, April 24, 2007

“Pollution ‘hits China’s farmland'”
BBC, April 23, 2007

“China Blamed for Half of Korea’s Mercury Pollution”
The Chosun Ilbo (Korea), April 23, 2007

“Vietnam’s industrial pollution ‘choking rivers'”
Edie News Center (U.K.), April 24, 2007

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