In Court

Published: Monday 15 August 2005

Agent Orange in Canada: A class action lawsuit has been filed in Ottawa, Canada, by people who claim they were exposed to Agent Orange and other chemicals that were tested in the 1960s at a Canadian Forces base in New Brunswick. The petitioners say they suffered serious health problems due to the spraying and seek punitive and aggravated damages, although they don't quote a specific amount. Though the claims have not been proven in a court, the government has acknowledged the spraying.

"20 years ago, the federal government first acknowledged there was spraying of Agent Orange on Gagetown and they said they would follow-up, but that was put on the back burner...Now, 20 years later, people are not prepared to let this go," said Oromocto-Gagetown MLA Jody Carr. "We're looking at children with spina bifida, leukemia, brain cancers...The obituaries are full of people dying of cancers in this area," says Gloria Paul, a resident of Gagetown, New Brunswick.

Unsafe Guards: In a landmark judgement regarding water bodies, the Madras High Court recently directed the state government to identify all natural water resources in the state, remove encroachments and initiate appropriate action against encroachers to restore the water bodies back to their original condition. The ruling came in response to a public interest litigation filed by one L Krishnan of Thatchur village to prevent encroachment in the catchment of a water body in the village. But the court found that the petitioner himself was an encroacher.

Experts believe the directive can be a source of trouble for the state government, which has allegedly been itself involved in destroying water bodies. The Pallikaranai lake and Kodungaiyour water bodies are used by the Chennai Municipal Corporation as dumping cities for solid and liquid waste. The Pallikarani marsh, once a large nesting ground for birds, is now a 120-hectare dump yard.

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