News Snippets

Published: Friday 30 April 2004

Oil companies exploring for gas in Saudi Arabia will henceforth have to submit environmental impact studies before they are allowed to commence operations. The head of the country's Presidency of Meteorology and Environmental Protection revealed that no factory -- with foreign or Saudi investors -- would get a permit unless this new green law was complied with. Committees set up to implement the law are also expected to crack down on cement factories and desalinating plants.

Irish citizens will soon have to pay a fee proportional to the weight of the garbage they produce. The move is a part of the Irish environment ministry's drive to promote recycling. Local councils have been given a January 2005 deadline to implement the billing procedures for garbage collection. But the country's opposition parties feel the new policy will encourage people to dump garbage illegally to avoid paying the fees.

Machines will replace people at pump stations along the 1,287-kilometre trans-Alaska oil pipeline. According to the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, which operates the oil line, the measure is expected to reduce operating costs by 10 per cent a year. But it also means that over 350 workers may be laid off during the next couple of years. Environmentalists feel that the change could heighten the risk of oil spills, especially in major rivers. The pipeline stretches across the Alaskan wilderness from Purdon Bay to Valdez.

The UK Prime Minister's (PM) office has given its fisherfolk an ultimatum: reform or watch the industry die. A report commissioned by PM Tony Blair noted that over 30 per cent of the fleet should be tied up in port for four years to save the cod, haddock and other 'white fish'. It further suggested that over 13 per cent of depleted fleet should be scrapped. However, such moves will put thousands of fisherfolk out of work. The fishing industry is a major source of employment, particularly in Scotland.

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