1997 Green Forum Articles


1998 Green Forum Articles

1999 Green Forum Articles

2000 Green Forum Articles

2001 Green Forum Articles

2002 Green Forum Articles

2003 Green Forum Articles

2004 Green Forum Articles

Hk Threatens Coral Reefs
Balancing Act
Flying Green
China's Deserts
Environmental Consultants Problems
Christmas-time Tree Savers
Scrap Paper: What to do?
A New Harbor Plan
Energy-saving Plan
Free Garbage
Winter Air-Conditioning
The "Going Rate" (Part 2)
The "Going Rate"
Replanting the Yangtze Basin
Measuring Water Pollution Levels
Policy Address: Sustainable Development (Part 2)
Policy Address: Sustainable Development
HK Chief Executive's Policy Address
Banana Skin to the Chief Executive
Easy on the Seaweed
One Year Later: Little Progress
Using Too Much
Consumer Dogfight
Cooler and Dirtier
Turtles: Giving Nature a Hand
Recycling Soap
HK Reefs in Trouble
Pest Control in HK
HK Legislature: Not very green
HK Air Conditioning
Floods on the Yangtze
New Airport, New Noises
Hiding the Bad News (Part 2)
Hiding the Bad News (Part 1)
Bad News for the Birds
Recycling Cheats
Environmental Assets
Fluorescent Bulbs in HK
Recycling in Housing Estates
HK Fauna and Flora
Coral Reef Website
Earth Day in HK
Friends of Earth Website
Chinese Elephants
Reef Relief
Recycling Calendars
Cholera in Hong Kong
Asia: Consuming to Extinction
Asia's Disappearing Habitats


29 December 1998


HK Threatens Coral Reefs

Some of the most important coral reefs in Asia are along the coast of Vietnam, but they are being increasingly threatened by booming tourism and illegal fishing. Hong Kong and Taiwanese fishermen especially are using explosives and cyanide to capture large fish, very valuable in the restaurants back home. The World Conservation Union is now beginning the most ambitious reef protection plan ever mounted in Asia to preserve the Vietnames reefs through better managed tourism and fishing.


21 December 1998


Balancing Act

Only 16% of HK's 1096 square kilometers (about 400 square miles) is developed. The rest is mostly green mountainous terrain, and 37% of the territory's land has been preserved as country parks. Those are a low figure for the amount of developed land and a high figure for the amount of a territory's area reserved for parks, but at the same time HK's population grows by a million people a decade. Cautious balancing is required to protect growth and the quality of life at the same time. HK's effective model over the years has been one of high-concentration to maximise use of limited resources.


17 December 1998


Flying Green

Cathay Pacific Airlines has been experimenting with a more environmentallly friendly management style. Significant costs savings have been accomplished through obvious things like turning off unneeded lights and collecting nearly 300 tons of waste paper for recycling over the last three years. Now the airline is toying with the idea of not printing food menus--which would save US$3 million a year--and instead using their in-seat video screens to display the food choices.


15 December 1998


China's Deserts

Deserts are consuming northern China. Over the years, more than 1 million square miles--nearly one third of the country's land mass--have turned from forests and grasslands into plains of dust because of overgrazing, clear-cutting of forests, and disastrous planning policies.

The Communist Party has officially backed the idea since 1949 that nature should be controlled and made to serve the people. This has led to disastrous blunders such as planting rice in areas with little rainfall; planting trees where only grass would grow; and damming up silt-filled rivers. Now the government has a more enlightened environmental policy but they face huge obstacles in returning the environment to a better balance.


12 December 1998


Environmental Consultant Problems

The people who benefit most from the plight of the world's environment are the consultants who study it at the request of governments. Friends of the Earth in Hong Kong has just concluded an examination of the 237 (!) environmentally related studies done in HK from 1995-1997. The studies cost HK$1.8 billion, but FoE grades the results as "pretty disappointing," especially because in that same period there seems to have been more degradation of the environment than improvement. FoE specifically questions the quality of consultants studies; the preference for international rather than local consultants; the failure of the international firms to effect a transfer of knowledge so that local firms can follow up; and the integrity of the consulting firms themselves.


3 December 1998


Christmas-time Tree Savers

This year, acutely aware of the flooding caused by deforestation of the watershed areas along the Yangtze River in China, Friends of the Earth has renewed its campaign to reduce the use of traditional Christmas cards. FoE estimates that it saved 100 trees from the paper man's axe last year and has a goal of saving 125 trees this year and of recycling 3 tons of Christmas cards it will collect. As an alternative to the cards we've come to expect every year, FoE suggests sending Christmas greetings on newspaper or electronically on the Internet.


26 November 1998


Scrap Paper: What to do?

A mountain of waste paper is accumulating in Hong Kong after the closure of Concordia Paper, the only paper recycling plant here, due to a fall in the price of recycled paper to a level of 20 years ago. Concordia had been collecting and recycling 14,000 tons of paper a month, 24% of the locally collected waste paper. Friends of the Earth and other green groups are encouraging the government to give more direct support to the recycling industry here so that it can become economically viable. Land costs are the biggest problem, given the relatively low profit margin of the recycling industry and the difficulty in finding outlets for the recycled paper products.


20 November 1998


A New Harbor Plan

Last May the government released its development plan for the waterfront along the north side of Hong Kong Island. It met with a lot of criticism during the two-month consultation, both because of its massive reclamation goal (creating 38 hectares of new land from the area of the harbor) and its plan for high-rise commercial development along the harbor. Now a property development company has come up with an alternative plan that reclaims only 16 hectares and also has a green crescent along the water instead of buildings. The main feature of the company's plan would be new and existing art and cultural sites combined with a grand civic centre and government offices.


16 November 1998


Energy-saving Plan

At the end of October, the Hong Kong government launched a plan to insure that all commercial buildings are energy-efficient. Under the voluntary plan, buildings that comply with codes of practice for energy-efficient lighting and air-conditioning will be placed on an official register. If owners do not comply voluntarily with the codes within eighteen months, legislation may be drafted to assure compliance. Approximately one-fourth of HK's commercial buildings are estimated to need improvements to bring them up to the code.


14 November 1998


Free Garbage

No, Hong Kong isn't giving away its garbage for free. Rather it's accepting it for free. A new levy was due to go into effect on non-domestic rubbish dumped at the government landfills, according to the "polluter pays" principle. However, because of the dismal economic conditions here in Hong Kong, it has been decided to delay the implementation of the new charges. HK now generates 16,000 tons of solid waste a day, up from 12,500 tons in 1989.


13 November 1998


Winter Air-Conditioning

Recently one of the HK legislators asked whether HK buses with air-conditioning could be required to turn off the air-conditioning during the autumn and winter months to save energy and reduce pollution. HK is replacing its older buses with new air-conditioned ones, with windows that cannot be opened, so the legislator was asking if new windows were required. The government said they would not require the buses to turn off the air-conditioning but would work for "more practical" ways to combat pollution.


11 November 1998


The "Going Rate" (Part 2)

In Hong Kong it is estimated that 25% of all the water used in a household is flushed down the toilet! Even if it is plentiful sea water, it still has to be filtered and pumped on the way in, and then screened and treated and pumped on its way out.


9 November 1998


The "Going Rate"

It is estimated that in Hong Kong, each toilet flush uses 18-27 liters of water. At the "going rate," the average person would flush 86 liters a day. Because HK has long faced a problem of a lack of fresh water, it actually has two water systems, a fresh water system and a sea water system. Most toilets in HK are flushed with sea water. There is no shortage of that, but the flushed water must be treated before it is returned to the sea. HK also has a two sets of fire hydrants. The red ones operate with fresh water and the yellow ones provide sea water for fighting fires.


3 November 1998


Replanting the Yangtze Basin

The disastrous floods along the Yangtze River this summer were made much worse by the extensive deforestation that allowed excessive water runoff to enter the river. Within a week or two of the floods subsiding, the director of HK's Friends of the Earth and several volunteers joined Chinese young people in a tree-planting project along the Yangtze in Sichuan Province. They reported that a continuous stream of loaded timber trucks coming out of the virgin forests there caused them to reflect that their planting may have been more hopeful than realistic.


2 November 1998


Measuring Water Pollution Levels

Pollution reduces the level of oxygen dissolved in bodies of water. To monitor oxygen levels in HK waters, the current system depends on collecting many water samples, often at great expense because of the need to send ships to remote areas. Now City University has received a grant to develop "biomarkers," biological indicators of oxygen levels. The new system will analyze tissue from fish and other marine animals to determine the level of oxygen it has been exposed to. This system should be both cheaper and more effective than the one previously used.


28 October 1998


Policy Address: Sustainable Development (Part 2)

Green groups are worried that the government is not yet ready to focus seriously on the environment. A strong sustainable development policy would require support from the general public, and that may not be available yet. The green groups have emphasized a "clean green life," but now some feel that approach has not been direct enough, hard-hitting enough. There is considerable public disinterest in the environment. If environmental concerns are shown in a list of all possible problems facing HK, people will check it as needing attention. But if asked to volunteer what problems should be addressed in HK, less than one percent of the respondents will mention the environment. And this is after ten years of publicity.


27 October 1998


Policy Address: Sustainable Development

The setting up of a bureau-level department for the environment--as HK's Chief Executive indicated in his policy address last week--is connected with the setting up of a sustainable development policy. An expensive study plans to produce a list of criteria and indicators by which economic, social, and environmental effects of government actions will be measured.

Part of the new policy would require government bureau and department heads to produce an annual report on the environmental impact of their policies and actions, and proposals for dealing with the damage they may be causing.

Some green groups, though, fear that the sustainable development plan is merely window dressing to allow the government to continue its building programs while appearing to protect the environment.


26 October 1998


HK Chief Executive's Policy Address

The Chief Executive, Tung Che-Hwa, in his policy address last week, concentrated on the economy but did make a major bureaucratic change that green groups have been demanding for years. The environment will now become a full-fledged bureau of HK government rather than just a division of the planning and lands bureau as it is now. The new office will provide coordination and direction on matters of environmental protection, environmental hygiene, waste management, food safety, and natural conversation.


24 October 1998


Banana Skin to the Chief Executive

Friends of the Earth in Hong Kong regular awards bouquets to individuals and groups who demonstrate concern for the environment and banana skins to those who don't. They have deemed Tung Che-Hwa, the chief executive of Hong Kong, deserving of a banana skin for his recent policy address which FoE rates as "half right." Mr. Tung endorese LPG fuel for taxis and banning leaded gasoline, and he proposed setting up an independent Food Security and Environment Bureau. But FoE faults him for ignoring recycling, traffic control, nature conservation, energy regulation, and cleaning up some of the notorious illegal dumping spots in the New Territories. The recycling and renewable energy programs especially needed a kick start this year.


19 October 1998


Easy on the Seaweed

A recent study by a HK university has found that brands of roasted seaweed sold here have a very high iodine content, and doctors have cautioned against letting children eat too much of this treat. The roasted seaweed was found to have an iodine content 400 times higher than that of vegetables. Hong Kong children have a four to five times higher incidence of hyperthyroidism than European children.


8 October 1998


One Year Later: Little Progress

Yesterday HK's Chief Executive (governor) gave his annual report of his government's progress over the past year. Green groups accused the government of failing to keep many of the promises made last year on the environment, and said even the pledges kept were unsatisfactory. Last year Tung Che-Hwa said: "We will take immediate steps to address water and air quality.... The effect of traffic fumes on our air quality and health is obvious to all. We will not let this problem continue." Continue it does, however. The government also claimed it had followed through on its pledge for a study on sustainable development, but a green spokesman said that although they've done it, it wasn't carried out in the spirit of a proper study.


2 October 1998


Using Too Much

A report by the Word Wide Fund for Nature explains that Hong Kong people are using 75% more natural resources than the average world citizen. The report, titled The Living Planet Report, compares countries and regions by ranking how much pressure they exert on the world's limited resources through their consumption of grain, meat, and fish, their use of timber and cement, and their production of carbon dioxide emissions. Overall, Hong Kong ranked 26th out of 152 world countries studied.


30 September 1998


Consumer Dogfight

Yesterday I noted an aggressive advertizing promotion in Hong Kong featuring small figurines of Snoopy dressed in different national costumes, sold with Value Meals in Hong Kong's 147 McDonald's outlets. Today the Asian Wall Street Journal has a long article focusing on the ire of environmentalists, nutritionists, and even legislators who decry McD's encouraging children to eat at the Golden Arches every day for 28 days in order to get all the Snoopy figures.

A McDonald's spokeswoman here said that they don't know of any other McD's market that has tried such an extended one-toy-per-day promotion. And while acknowledging that Snoopy's presence has increased traffic in their outlets, she noted that McDonald's was already enormously popular before the promotion. I have seen statistics that one million HK people a day visit McDonald's. That's out of a population of six million! And HK people seem to have a gene for collecting anything that might rise in value. People encountering a long queue on a sidewalk somewhere will first get in line and only then ask what they're in line for. The Consumer Council says it has fielded no complaints about the promotion so it's hard to know if the limited outcry so far is actually the prelude to a full-blown consumer rebellion.


21 September 1998


Cooler and Dirtier

Our weather is starting to change in Hong Kong: it's still plenty hot (up to the high 80s every day), but the humidity is starting its seasonal drop. Now it doesn't stay above 80% all day and night but has even dropped to 55% recently. A big problem, though, is the dirty air. The past several days have seen a marked increase in air pollution, mostly the result of our numerous vehicles. Hong Kong has 180,000 taxis, most of them on the road all day long, and they contribute a great deal of the pollutants. The government would like them to switch from diesel to cleaner liquid propane gas (LPG) but hasn't pushed the issue because of the outcry that would result from the higher price of LPG.


14 September 1998


Turtles: Giving Nature a Hand

Last week about 70 baby turtles were released on an isolated beach in Hong Kong. The Agriculture and Fisheries Department found the turtle eggs during a routine patrol in July and artificially incubated them. The green turtles are an endangered species, and evironmentalists hope this will give the local turtle population a boost. The release took place after an educational program to convince local villagers of the importance of maintaining the turtle population.


8 September 1998


Recycling Soap

If you have small pieces of old bars of soap around the house, turn them into liquid soap. Break up the soap pieces into very small bits and then put them into some sort of empty squeeze dispenser (like a detergent bottle). Fill the bottle with warm water and let it sit. After a day or two you should have liquid soap ready to squeeze.


31 August 1998


HK Reefs in Trouble

Last year a group called Reef Check surveyed HK's coral reefs and found only two of the eleven species of fish commonly used to indicate the health of a reef. A follow-up survey this year confirms that both lobster and large garoupa are basically extinct in HK waters. Several reef areas have been declared marine parks, but conservationists say that is not enough and now access to the parks and fishing must be limited if the wildlife is ever to recover.


26 August 1998


Pest Control in HK

Friends of the Earth in HK has recently surveyed pest control companies in Hong Kong and found an appalling lack of standards, lack of training of employees, lack of safeguards and restrictions, lack of monitoring and data on pesticide contamination, and lack of public concern. There is a HK Pest Control Association but it has only a self-regulatory code of practice and only 40 companies are members (one-fifth of the pest control services serving HK). It was also discovered that at least 24 chemicals banned in other parts of the world are used in pest control here.


22 August 1998


HK Legislature: Not very green

Two months ago, Friends of the Earth in HK sent a questionnaire on environmental concerns to all members of the first SAR legislature to gauge their interest and attention to environmental issues. The results were discouraging. Only 29% of the legislators bothered to reply. Among those who did, 38% considered HK's environment "intolerable." They rated HK's major environmental problems as, first, air pollution, then water pollution, food safety, and reclamation of land from the sea. FoE notes" "Environment will not top our legislators' agenda."


15 August 1998


HK Air Conditioning

Hong Kong is plenty HOT right now! And plenty of people have air conditioners going pretty much all the time. Use blinds and curtains to block the sunlight streaming into your home. That's less heat that has to be removed by the air conditioner so less electricity used and less air pollution generated.


13 August 1998


Floods on the Yangtze

Millions of people have been displaced by the floods in the Yangtze River basin and damage today is estimated at US$24 billion--so far. Like so many of China's environmental disasters, the annual floods along the Yangtze--made worse this year by exceptionally heavy rainfall--have a partly human origin. Forest lands have been cut and wet lands along the river have been reclaimed to create more farmland. Short-sighted policy planners probably have chosen to turn a blind eye to the environmental damage in order to keep China's economy growing at dictated levels. But nature is hard to fool and eventually the folly of human activities catches up with us. Now the seasonal torrents of rain have nowhere to disperse and are concentrated in the rigid, narrow channels of the river with only one way to go--up.


15 July 1998


New Airport, New Noises

It's been amusing the past week for those of us living close to the old airport to hear people complain about noise from the new airport. Of course all the approach and departure patterns changed when the new airport opened 18 miles north of the old one. Now departing aircraft fly over what is known as the New Territories, the closest thing HK has to a rural area. Residents there are now complaining of aircraft noise from planes that are at an altitude of more than 4000 feet when overhead. Monitoring equipment shows the noise level in the range of 65-70 decibels, just below the 70 db level international standards consider unacceptable. But can you imagine what the db levels must have been when the aircraft used to pass over our neighborhood--at an altitude of 300 feet?


1 July 1998


Hiding the Bad News (Part 2)

In addition to only belatedly revealing statistics and information about the extent of Beijing's pollution problem, the officials have doctored the information to make the situation seem less dire. Recently the Canadian Embassy, through somewhat mysterious means, obtained the true figures about Beijing's pollution which contradict years of official government reassurances.  One example: the figures show that carbon monoxide levels are rising 16% annually while nitrogen oxide is rising by 52% per year.


26 June 1998


Hiding the Bad News (Part 1)

The air pollution in Beijing is among the world's worst, but compounding the problem has been the Beijing government's deception about the problem over the years.  Although it started collecting air pollution data in 1981, Beijing in February of this year became the last of China's major cities to publish the information.  The motives for hiding the bad news were two-fold: first, the city was trying to protect its international image and attract foreign investment; and, second, officials feared social instability if the people found out just how dangerously polluted the city is.


1 June 1998


Bad News for the Birds

For the last 15 years, the number of migratory birds stopping at HK's Mai Po marshes had been increasing. But then in the winter of 1996-97, the number declined by 4,000 birds. This winter, 1997-98, the number dropped another 10,000. Researchers believe they are falling victim to the inexorable development going on in China to the north of us. Construction of new commercial developments along the northern side of Deep Bay is stirring up mud that is being deposited on the Mai Po mud flats, slowly raising them above the high-tide mark, killing the worms and crabs the wild birds feed on. A second problem, along with the sedimentation, is declining water quality from pollutants washing down from China.


23 May 1998


Recycling Cheats

Hong Kong used to have a developing waste-paper recycling industry.  Newspapers and cardboard were collected in Hong Kong, shipped to China for initial processing, and then sold to Japan and the Philippines to be made into new paper products.  But many HK waste paper operators have been spraying the waste stock with water before baling it, or adding scrap metal, to increase the weight and gain a higher price.  The mainland buyers are getting wise to them now, though, and basically refusing to accept waste paper from HK.  The result is that many recycling programs in schools and housing estates (projects) are floundering because no one will take the paper being collected.


19 May 1998


Environmental Assets

In calculating a country's sustainable growth potential, environmental scientists have tried to find a way to value environmental losses such as the extinction of a species.

"The problem with existing economic measurement models is that they do not properly account for the use or depreciation of environmental assets.  Although these efforts to incorporate environmental losses into national accounting systems are still relatively crude, they do make the point that environmental assets have real economic value, despite disagreement over how to quantify it.

"'Man-made assets such as buildings and equipment are valued as productive capital and written off against the value of production as they depreciate....  Natural resource assets are not so valued, and their loss entails no debit charge against current income that would account for the decrease in potential future production.  A country could exhaust its mineral resources, cut down its forests, erode its soils, pollute its aquifers, and hunts its wildlife and fisheries to extinction, but measured income would not be affected as these assets disappeared.'" -- Far Eastern Economic Review


8 May 1998


Fluorescent Bulbs in HK

Many developing countries use more fluorescent lights rather than incandescent light bulbs because the latter give less light for the same amount of energy. Thus night time in many developing countries has the cool glow of fluorescent lighting, even in the street lights. HK has many fluorescent lights from its poor days, but now new fluorescent lights are being promoted as air pollution preventers. Switching from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs can keep half a ton of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere over the life of the bulb.


2 May 1998


Recycling in Housing Estates

An "estate" has a different meaning in HK/British English. While it means a large, expensive home and grounds for a wealthy person in US English, here in HK the word "estate" means a housing project, either public or private. Normally that would be anywhere from 3 to 20 high-rise buildings grouped together under the same name, e.g., the Wang Tau Hom Estate.

Because an estate concentrates tens of thousands of people in a small area, it is a natural locus for a strong recycling effort. A three-month campaign to bring recycling into estate residents' homes has been launched, with the specific objective of raising awareness about waste separation and the need to reduce wasteloads. The majority of waste in HK is generated by the commercial and industrial sector, and they recycle about 53% of that. There is tremendous room for improvement in the residential sectory, though, with waste paper recycling alone having the potential to increase by 400%.

Posters, banners, and other advertizing about the recycling program is spread throughout the participating estates, and green groups have been invited to organise talks, hold demonstrations, and carry out other activities to educate people. Special litter and waste receptacles have been provided also for the various categories of waste.


28 April 1998


HK Fauna and Flora

Hong Kong is a wild place. For such a small area, it has an exceptionally diverse flora and fauna. Hong Kong boasts more native plant species than the United Kingdom which is 225 times larger, and HK has more tree species than all of Western Europe. HK also has recorded 421 bird species and is home to 211 species of butterfly, 104 dragonfly species, and 46 mammal species.


25 April 1998


Coral Reef Website

An interesting website by the Coral Reef Alliance. Unsustainable fishing methods are robbing the world's oceans of precious coral reefs. See the state of the world's reefs on this site and find out what you can do to help. Hong Kong's reefs are constantly threatened by pollution and illegal fishing using explosives and poisons. Check out http://www.coral.org.


22 April 1998


Earth Day in HK

Today is Earth Day around the world but you could be forgiven if you overlooked it in Hong Kong. The only notice of it I saw was in a full-page newspaper advertisement by Shell Oil company, listing their environmental policy and the various green projects they are involved in here. That's a bit ironic because several years ago Friends of the Earth in Hong Kong broke off from the international Friends of the Earth because the local group gets sponsorship from Shell while the international FoE sees Shell as one of the major international enemies of the environment.


16 April 1998


Friends of the Earth Website

Hong Kong Friends of the Earth has an interesting website at www.hk.super.net/~foehk. Take a look at their viewpoint on the environmental scene in HK. They can be contacted at foehk@hk.super.net.


24 March 1998


Chinese Elephants

Most people think of the panda bear when they think of an animal associated with China, but the mainland also has an endangered population of wild elephants in a 500,000 acre area, a preserve, in Yunnan province. 14 years ago there were 197 elephants left, but because of concerted protection efforts, that number is now up to 250. Part of the strategy in protecting the elephants has been a strong education campaign on the value of the elephants plus a government reimbursement program when the animals destroy villagers' crops.


16 March 1998


Reef Relief

HK has embarked on a program of sinking derelict ships across the mouth of Hoi Ha Wan (wan means "bay") on the territory's northeast coast. The ships, confiscated by the Marine Department from smugglers, will create artificial reefs which provide refuge where fish can hide, breed, and grow bigger, thus helping to build up the local stocks. And this series of ten wrecks has another purpose. The bay, part of HK's Marine Park system, is a protected area. Large trawlers are not allowed to fish there and the wrecks across the mouth of the bay--nicknamed "sleeping policemen"--form an effective barrier to those who would flout the law. It costs about US$20,000 per boat to sink it in position but the fisheries department says that it would be much more expensive to built concrete artificial reefs along the seabed.


14 March 1998


Recycling Calendars

Chinese calendars tend to be artistically beautiful as well as functional. Many of them are meter-long pages of beautiful watercolor scenes of nature or colorful renditions of events from Chinese mythology. Chinese people are also noted for their gift giving, and a lot of gift-wrapping paper gets used just once and then thrown away! One way to avoid wasting natural resources for wrapping paper is to save the pages from your Chinese calendars when you tear them off each month. They're large and colorful, and you can use them to wrap gifts for your friends. Your friends will like the pictures and think you are clever for recycling and saving money.


9 March 1998


Cholera in Hong Kong

One of the local delights in Hong Kong during the winter time is a "hot pot" meal, often eaten out of doors at a cooked food stall. Basically it is a large pot of water set over an open flame in the middle of the table. On various plates set around the table are mounds of raw food: fish, meat, vegetables, bean curd, whatever. Each person has a little long-handled wire basket in which they place the raw food which is then held in the boiling pot until it is cooked.

The problem is that often the food is undercooked, and especially in the case of HK seafood, that is an open invitation for cholera. Recently 15 cases of cholera have been diagnosed. The last four all came from seafood in one restaurant which was then closed for three days while it was disinfected and thoroughly cleaned. Even the floor tiles were jack-hammered up to get at the cockroaches and rats making a home there.


3 January 1998


Asia: Consuming to Extinction

Asia is the largest consumer of at least four valuable wildlife products: ivory, musk oil, tortoise shell, and rhinoceros horn.


1 January 1998


Asia's Disappearing Habitats

Asia still has 450,000 square kilometers of coral reefs, but 30% of this area has been degraded by urbanization, silting, over-fishing, and oil pollution. Only a third of Southeast Asia is still covered by forests compared to almost 100% a century ago.

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