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London to impose new charges to cut 'lethal' pollution
by Staff Writers
London (AFP) April 4, 2017

Taiwan steel firm behind Vietnam fish deaths gets nod to open
Hanoi (AFP) April 5, 2017 - Vietnamese officials said Wednesday that a Taiwanese steel plant behind a mass fish kill is fit to launch operations on a trial basis one year after the disaster, state media reported.

Taiwan's Formosa was blamed for dumping toxic waste off Vietnam's central coast, killing tonnes of fish including rare offshore species.

The firm was fined $500 million over the disaster. But anger still seeths in coastal communities where fishing is the main livelihood and regular protests have continued since the fish kill in April last year.

Following a three-day inspection of the multi-billion dollar plant in Ha Tinh province, under construction since 2012, officials from the environment ministry said the site would be allowed to open pending approval from the central government.

"The government will later decide on whether to allow the plant's trial run, following a proposal from the inspection team," senior environment official Hoang Van Thuc was quoted as saying by state-run Vietnam Television.

The steel conglomerate had adequately addressed 52 out of 53 violations required to operate after the disaster, according to VTV. The remaining violation to be addressed is related to a coking system.

Nationwide protests were staged after the mass fish deaths last year. In recent weeks fishermen have gathered again in Ha Tinh to demand greater compensation following the disaster.

Some claim they were not compensated enough, while others say that have not been paid at all.

On Monday, thousands of fishermen occupied a local government compound in Ha Tinh province, demanding compensation from authorities.

Minor clashes were reported between demonstrators and security forces, and several people were arrested.

Drivers of the most polluting cars will be charged to travel into the centre of London from 2019, Mayor Sadiq Khan said Tuesday, describing his city's air as "lethal".

Khan hopes the move will halve harmful nitrogen oxide emissions in central London, where air pollution is thought to cost 9,000 premature deaths per year.

Under the scheme, vehicles will be charged 12.50 pounds ($15.50, 14.60 euros) to enter a planned "ultra-low emissions zone" (ULEZ) around the city centre.

Diesel cars more than four years old in April 2019 and petrol cars more than 13 years old will face the charge 24 hours a day.

Private buses, coaches and trucks failing to meet emissions standards will have to pay 100 pounds.

"The air in London is lethal and I will not stand by and do nothing," Khan told AFP.

The ULEZ will have the same boundary as the current congestion charge zone, where vehicles pay 11.50 pounds to enter the city centre between 7:00am and 6:00pm Monday to Friday.

The pollution charge would come on top of the congestion charge.

Khan said he wants to extend the ULEZ to a far wider area of London in 2021.

"One of the big reasons that the air in London is lethal is because of the emissions of vehicles," Khan said.

"We've estimated that more than half of the air pollution is caused by transport.

"It's really important to recognise that poor quality air is one of the reasons why there are 9,000 premature deaths in London each year, more than 40,000 premature deaths across the UK and children having defective lungs, plus adults suffering poor health."

Last week, Khan joined his counterparts from Paris and Seoul to launch an initiative to rate the most polluting vehicles in a bid to keep them off the roads of their cities.

The aim of the "Air'volution" scheme is to help drivers to avoid buying the most harmful diesel vans and cars.

Upcycling 'fast fashion' to reduce waste and pollution
San Francisco CA (SPX) Apr 04, 2017
Pollution created by making and dyeing clothes has pitted the fashion industry and environmentalists against each other. Now, the advent of "fast fashion" - trendy clothing affordable enough to be disposable - has strained that relationship even more. But what if we could recycle clothes like we recycle paper, or even upcycle them? Scientists report new progress toward that goal. The team ... read more

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Our Polluted World and Cleaning It Up

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