Published: Thursday 15 June 1995

The prosperous Asia-Pacific region seems to be heading towards a certain environmental doom. According to the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) predictions, increased air and water pollution, heavy carbon dioxide emissions and land degradation are distinct possibilities in the near future. "Such is the grim picture which we are faced with, if economic development in the region is pursued with- out adequate social and environmental safeguards," says ADB vice-president Peter Sullivan.

The region's environment, he points out, has paid a heavy price for its 7.9 per cent annual economic growth rate between 1981 and 1990. "More than 700 million people in the region still live in absolute poverty. The poor, simply to survive, are compelled to take what they can from the land today and lack the means to con- serve their natural resources for tomorrow," laments Sullivan.

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