Road to ruin: Tough laws won?t save poor nations? ecosystems until the impacts of developments are taken seriously (2007)

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Tough laws won’t save poor nation’s ecosystems until the impacts of developments are taken seriously. Dozens of Indonesians killed by landslides this spring have paid the price of unchecked development. Many other innocents in developing nations die each year as rampant illegal logging and deforestation denude steep hillsides, loosening soil and allowing heavy rains to create deadly deluges. Such environmental perils are increasingly common across much of the world as native forests are fragmented, waterways polluted, and oceans over-harvested. The onslaught is especially alarming in the tropics, where an area of forest the size of 40 football fields is destroyed every minute. Thousands - perhaps millions - of species are at risk. Yet remarkably, many developing nations have good laws to regulate development and protect their natural ecosystems. Indonesia, Brazil, Bolivia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for example, all have strong forestry codes and environmental laws. So why aren’t they working? A key problem is that environmental impact assessments (EIAs), required by law for most development projects, are often utterly inadequate.
Year: 2007
Language: English
In: Reprinted with permission from New Scientist, issue 2607, 06 June 2007, page 25. Himalayan Journal of Sciences Vol.4(6) 2007 p.9:,



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