Published: Friday 31 December 2004

A reclamation and land decontamination programme being conducted for the construction of Disneyland Hong Kong, due to open in September 2005, is causing widespread pollution. Environmental group Greenpeace has urged the government to stop burning waste removed from Penny's Bay on Lantau island as part of the programme because the activity produces dioxins. It said the incineration is being conducted near T sing Yi, a densely populated area.

A new law in Scotland imposes a fine of up to US$77,988 on mountain bikers drawn to several trails across Scotland -- many of which are reserved areas -- and causing considerable damage to the eco-system.

The move is part of the aim to safeguard sites of special scientific interest in the country.

Bangladesh has deferred a decision on the proposal for the US $1 billion Myanmar-Bangladesh-India natural gas pipeline. The country's cabinet committee on economic affairs recently decided that the matter should be taken up by prime minister Khaleda Zia's office, which handles energy issues.

The matter will also be high on the agenda at the tri-nation conference of the energy ministers of these three countries, to be held in Myanmar in January 2005.

Philippines president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo recently blamed illegal logging for the widespread floods and landslides that killed many people and destroyed several towns in the country's northeastern parts. She has ordered a nation-wide crackdown on the activity.

Aviation emissions may be included in the European emissions trading scheme (ETS). Peter Vis, acting head of the industrial emissions unit at the European Commission, recently said a study has been initiated to determine whether this could be done.

At present the ETS covers industrial sites in the EU but does not include emissions from transport or households.

Scientists have discovered at least 106 new species of fish in 2004 as part of the billion dollar Census of Marine Life. Nearly 70 countries are engaged in the study. "We're finding new marine species almost everywhere," said Ron O'Dor, a scientist involved in the 10-year project. The census is aimed at facilitating the understanding of oceans to help fight threats like overfishing and global warming.

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