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Latest Messages:

May 16, 2006 CSE Newsletter

Previous Messages:

November 24, 2005 CSE Newsletter

September 22, 2005 Newsletter

March 15, 2003 Newsletter

You can find CSE archives of past newsletters on their website.



May 16, 2006 CSE Newsletter

An e-bulletin from the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), India, to our network of friends and professionals interested in environmental issues.


- Leapfrog Factor : Workshop on clean air in Asian cities
- Sneak peak inside Leapfrog factor - Clearing the air in Asian cities
- Cover Story: After the deluge-Narmada drowning people in confusion
- Editorial : Old-style corruption better?
- CSE launches Green Educators Network
- Gobar Times : Why Indian fisher folk are starving
- Science: Do mangroves really protect against Tsunami's
- Analysis : Aizwal's quest for water
- Media: Water conservation - Coke style
- How green is your school
- Sign up for Down To Earth online


The Leapfrog Factor : Mumbai


A book release and briefing workshop on clean air in Asian cities

CSE invites you to an event that offers a unique opportunity to understand the air pollution crisis overwhelming Indian cities, and how a technology 'leapfrog' can ensure that the problem does not overwhelm the solutions.

Experts from CSE and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) will conduct the workshop which will acknowledge the efforts that cities like Mumbai and Pune have made to lower pollution levels. It will also explain new challenges and refocus the future agenda to achieve clean air in Indian cities.

The event will also present CSE's new publication 'Leapfrog Factor: Clearing the air in Asian cities'- the product of a ten-year campaign to combat vehicular pollution.


Friday, May 19, 2006
10.00 AM-1.30 PM
Conference Hall, 3rd Floor, Y B Chavan Centre,
General Jagannathrao Bhosale Marg, near Mantralaya, Nariman Point
Mumbai-21, Ph 022-2204 3617/19

Chirag: 9810208029



Cover Story: Awaiting the miracle


In the past two months, India has revisited its most contested dam, the Sardar Sarovar Project. While people affected by it in Madhya Pradesh remain stranded, Gujarat can't distribute the water that it already has.


Editorial: Old-style corruption better?


By Sunita Narain

A journalist from the International Herald Tribune asked my opinion about what he called "modern forms of lobbying" that us multinationals operating in India engaged in. He was investigating how these companies were bringing their skills of influencing policy - from 'planting' stories in the media, to 'engaging' academics and scientists to counter debates, to 'lobbying' legislators - to India.

My reply was simple: firstly, cash transactions are still part of the game but more covert. Secondly, given a choice between the new and the old, I would prefer old-fashioned, Indian-style corruption. This is because direct financial dealings, however distasteful, cannot be hidden for long. But this us -refined influence game will erode our public institutions, subvert public decision-making and fatally undermine democracy.

It is important to learn and analyse how democracy is 'worked' in the us. Robert F Kennedy Jr. explains some of this in his writings on the Bush administration. Kennedy, a politician and lawyer, is the son of the charismatic Democrat senator, who was assassinated.

What he reveals is chilling. We know in American electoral politics, industry and other interest groups make donations to candidates. These donations are seemingly not corrupt, because they are given openly (not Indian-style cash under the table). Unfortunately, the truth lies elsewhere. Kennedy describes, in detail, the corporate takeover of the us and how this undermines issues of public health and policy.

The process is deliberate. The corporate world knows that policy is personnel. So, the first step in dismantling public policy formulation is to ensure 'their' people are put in charge. This has been done in institution after institution, with devastating impacts. For instance, when a mining industry person is given charge of public land policy or a coal industry person is put in place to decide energy policy, you cannot expect unbiased outcomes.

Another step is to recruit scientists, who Kennedy calls 'biostitutes - prostitutes to serve industrial interests. He describes in detail how this was done again and again in cases concerning public health. For instance, in deciding how much arsenic should be acceptable in drinking water, how much mercury Americans should ingest through fish, how to regulate effluents from pig-farms, industrial-style, which release a toxic mix of chemicals. In this case, Kennedy documents how a government scientist found an antibiotic resistant strain of bacteria near pig farms, which was making people sick. He was gagged, his studies buried and his public appearances cancelled. This, Kennedy says, was done because of lobbying by the National Pork Producers Council.

In the fight for a voice, all tricks are used. One such case concerns a bill introduced in the us Senate in late 2001, which would require chemical plants to reduce their inventories of highly toxic and dangerous substances. The first assault came with industry associations lobbying senators against the proposed law. Money poured in - the chemical industry donated over us $38 million to Republicans and spent another us $30 million on lobbying. To 'soften' public servants, money was paid to benefit funds; suddenly there was a spate of articles and editorials condemning the legislation as subversive. Right-wing think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and Competitive Enterprise Institute produced briefs justifying the opposition. The bill was killed.

The most devastating fact is that this 'corporate cronyism' can take root because democratic institutions have been seriously compromised. Kennedy finds that even his party members - Democrats - need to play the game, because they need corporate money for elections. He also finds that the media has been systematically taken over and its role as a public informer been compromised. This has been done through pincer-like actions. Firstly, the law that regulated media as a public trust - mandating it to publicise different points of view - was abolished. Till the 1960s, under the Fairness Doctrine, advertisers of gas-guzzling automobiles, for instance, had to provide rebuttal time for public-interest advocates to debate the impact of wasteful fuel use. But in the 1980s, Ronald Reagan, supported by the media, changed this. Secondly, media has been consolidated, is often owned by industry: its business is expensive so that money rules. Stories on corporate shenanigans are buried or journalists fired, finds Kennedy.

The fact is that India is currently standing on a precipice. Our institutions of governance - particularly our political institutions - have been so weakened that we are ready for the same 'corporate takeover'. If you don't believe me, visit the official homepage of the Indian Planning Commission, click on the report of the innocuously termed Indo-US CEO forum. Its members included the most respected from India - from Ratan Tata to Nandan Nilekani. Read the report and its action agenda for the Indian government on everything - agriculture, food processing, intellectual property rights, real estate, education. No surprises there, you will say. After all, all industry - Indian or foreign - has a wish list.

But wishes are commands when lobbies, not government, rule. For instance, the report directs that Indian government must "eliminate policies like the discriminatory special excise duty on carbonated drinks". In the same budget, the duty was reduced. The group included the head of soft drink major, us multinational Pepsico. No surprises there.

Read Kennedy. Get angry. Don't allow this takeover of India. This is not a us makeover we can afford.


Green Educators' Network


CSE's Environment Education Unit presents the Green Educators Network a forum to bring educators across the world together to collaborate and discuss environment matters. Membership of the network is free and open to University/College teachers of all backgrounds interested in the field of environment. Apart from regular updates and reviews on the latest books, films and other resources on environment, members can use the forum to showcase their own books and publications on environment.



Gobar Times : Environment for beginners


With a coastline of 9040 kilometers and a network of rivers crisscrossing every part of its land, its not surprising that India is the third largest fish producer in the world. Yes, fisherfolk-living in Assam at the top of the map, or in Kerala right at the bottom--contribute enormously to our national income. So why are they still starving?

Find out in this issue of Gobar Times>>


More in Down To Earth magazine


Do mangroves really protect against Tsunami's

A new study on mangroves is raising a storm by claiming that coastal green belts do not protect against Tsunamis. The study calls into question rehabilitation work such as IUCN's US$ 45 million programme to build natural barriers to protect against future Tsunamis. Find out about the study published in Estuarine and Coastal Shelf Science, and how scientists and NGO's are responding.


Aizwal's quest for water
Faced with a piped water system that is unable to meet the growing demand, residents of Mizoram's state capital are returning to harvesting rain to supply their water needs. Click for an in-depth study of the options available to this growing city.


Water conservation - Coke style

The soft drinks giant is attempting to shed it's water hogging image by promoting water conservation in 5 villages in Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu. Find out about the company's new initiative in collaboration with International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)



Gobar Times Green Schools Network


Students from 1,600 schools are assessing how green their schools are as part of the Gobar Times Green School Network. Is your school a part of the network?

Member schools receive a lively activity sheet every month which engages students in environment issues.


For details about the programme>>


Inside Down To Earth (subscription required)


To get a trial issue>>

Down To Earth subscribers - Refer your friends, family and colleagues to Down To Earth receive a complimentary copy of Down To Earth print AND one month access to Down To Earth online.


- Rare Chikungunya disease epidemic feared in India
- Official callousness may result in Tezpur's destruction
- European Commission warns 5 EU states on missing emission reduction deadline
- Quality of wine being affected by climate change


- Indian Drug and Cosmetics Act amendment may kill generic drugs.
- Are subsoil carcinogens to blame for Punjab cancers?
- India floundering after WTO ministerial

Science and Technology>>

- Chinese herb used to produce cheap medicine for drug-resistant malaria
- Restoring wetlands may reduce risk of flu spreading says UNEP
- Oxygen depletion induces sex change in fish.


Mishka Zaman - ADB's priority is business
Why Indian does India's agriculture lag behind China's.

Book : The Burning of the Rice, A Cambodian Success Story


CSE is an independent,public interest organisation that was established in 1982 by Anil Agarwal, a pioneer of India's environmental movement. CSE's mandate is to research, communicate and promote sustainable development with equity, participation and democracy.
Contact CSE: http://www.cseindia.org/aboutus/feedback.htm
E-mail: < cse@cseindia.org >
Privacy policy: http://www.cseindia.org/misc/privacy.htm
Address: 41 Tughlakabad Institutional Area, New Delhi - 110062

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© Centre for Science and Environment


Front Page, Week Of:

4/16/05: Spectre to Introduce U.S. Asbestos Bill This Week

5/22/05: Individuals Injured by Asbestos Exposure Oppose Specter's Trust Fund Legislation

10/16/05: Victim's Organizations Form Asbestos Victims Coalition in Opposition to Asbestos Trust Fund Legislation

11/17/05: White Lung Mourns Jose Jesus Pessora

12/18/05: Frist Introducing Asbestos Bill in January

12/04/06: Asbestos Watch Newsletter: Help Celebrate the 27th Anniversary of the WHITE LUNG ASSOCIATION

Jim Fite's Alerts:

Asbestos Victim's Superfund Compensation Program

Asbestos Watch March 14, 2005 (Maryland chapter of the White Lung Association meetings)

Directorate of Safety, Health, and Environment (open letter)


Joe Oliver's Alerts:

Joe Oliver, National Board Member and former President of the White Lung Association, has issued a call to all persons to help gather evidence on the conspiracy by asbestos trade organizations to suppress the knowledge about the hazards of asbestos exposure.

If you know anything about this horrific history or have documents which can be used to further prove their heinous crimes, please contact Joe Oliver, WLA, POB 1483, Balt. MD 21203.

Leonard Makowski's Alerts:

The White Lung Association stands in opposition to The Specter Bill (S.852)

WLA Alerts & News

S.1115: Bill to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act to reduce the health risks posed by asbestos-containing products - This bill is supported by the WLA.

Meet Mr. Asbestos

Proceedings of the Asbestos Symposium for the Asian Countries - now available for purchase.

Australia Bans Asbestos!



Senator Specter Breaks Promise to Mesothelioma Patient and Research Community

Senate Judiciary Committee returns to Mark-Up on May 11th: Proposed asbestos trust fund legislation will further penalize victims of asbestos-caused diseases


World Trade Center Health:

In May 2003, the Global Environment & Technology Foundation developed the "Asbestos Strategies" report.

British Asbestos Newsletter:

The latest issue is Spring 2005


News from India:

The latest issue is January 4, 2007



December 17, 2000 is Asbestos Hazard Awareness Day


Current Projects:

Asbestos Museum


Articles & Publications:

Occupational Respiratory Diseases: Asbestos Associated Disease -- Reprinted from: Maxcy-Rosenau Public Health and Preventative Medicine 11th ed. (John M. Last, Ed.) 1980, Appleton-Century-Crofts

Asbestos Victims Deserve Compensation Not Betrayal: position release by the Board of Directors, White Lung Association



In Memoria:

Paul Safchuck May 21, 2003

Dr. William Nicholson Dies at 70

Ray Sentes Brave Fighter For Asbestos Victims

For more information please contact info whitelung org.