Residents of Cavalima whose land will be used for the Tasi Mane petroleum infrastructure project in Camanasa, Timor-Leste, Jan. 10, 2019 /Credit: Bernardo Da Costa Maia

[Timor-Leste] Voices: Tasi Mane Petroleum Project Brings Concern, Optimism to Southern Coast

In a January 2019 reporting trip, Radio Rakambia discovered that the government has compensated some people while others have not been paid. It hasn’t been indicated where the farmers can move to. The people of Suai have appealed to the government to establish good conditions for resettlement so that they can raise their animals and plant their plants.

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[Philippines] 360: The changing mountain calendar in Sagada

This 360-degree takes you to this picturesque community whose harvest is now in peril, allowing you to immerse in its plight and culture. As it plays, watch the scenes come alive on your device. Swipe back and forth, move up and down, or rotate the video’s perspective to watch it from all angles. You can also get a virtual reality (VR) viewer or headset, look inside, and feel like you are actually in the scene.

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Ban Mai is one of the most affected villages by Xe Pian-Xe Nam Noy dam collapsed in July. The Lao government estimates losses at more than US$15 million alone in this village / Credit: Visarut Sankham

[Laos] Compensation talks begin for dam disaster victims

More than 7,000 survivors of the disastrous collapse of the hydropower dam in southern Laos’ Sanamxay district have been struggling to survive for nearly seven months.

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Photo by Pratch Rujivanarom

[Laos] Survivors of dam collapse battle dengue, malnutrition

Six months after the collapse of the Xe Pian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam in southern Laos triggered floods that swept them from their homes, survivors are now suffering from dengue fever and malnutrition.

Those health challenges come despite firm agreements between local and international health agencies to work together to prevent disease and otherwise attend to the needs of the displaced.

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Hin Lath school, where Chang attended, was destroyed by the dam collapse. He now has to travel at least three hours return to attend school in the city / Credit: Visarut Sankham

[Laos] The deadly wave that changed everything

Flash floods following the collapse of the Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy dam in southern Laos washed away the homes, families, hope and dreams of dozens of villagers living downstream. This is one of their stories.

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A field of newly transplanted Virginia tobacco in Barangay Anei, Claveria, Misamis Oriental. The production of these plants plummeted to only a million kilograms in 2018 as only 336 farmers planted the crop in 436.21 hectares, down from 2.5 million in 2017 with 1,117 farmers who grew the variety in 1,387 hectares. Photo by LSReyes

[Philippines] Images of women absent from posters on safe tobacco growing

Researchers in a Brazil-based study in a tobacco-growing community pointed out that women are primary study subjects on the health and environmental impacts of tobacco production because of  “their role in tobacco production, combined with their essential role in caring for the family, especially related to health.’’

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[Philippines] Environment, health impacts awareness factor in tobacco production nosedive

Done in 2016, three years after tobacco’s commercial cultivation began here, the study, which profiled women farmers, including the knowledge, perceptions and practices of women working in tobacco farms in Claveria. Among its findings is that 90 percent of the women workers were aware of the health impacts of cultivating the plant.

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Protesters against sand mining on the Ayeyarwady River in Shwedaung Township, Bago Region on Jan. 16, 2019. Photo: Thuya Zaw

[Myanmar] Ayeyarwady river at risk from rampant sand mining

Since 2010, a construction boom in Myanmar has fueled a sharp increase in the extraction of sand from the Ayeyarwady that is then used in cement and asphalt. Environmental groups say this dredging is destabilizing the river and placing stress on the Ayeyarwady Delta, the country’s main rice producing region. Experts warn that the rate of sand mining in the Ayeyarwady has already reached an unsustainable level and is projected to increase as development continues.

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[Philippines] Romancing storms, worms and leaves: Growing ‘batek’ in the shadow of environmental perils

The farmers continue to use insecticides whose active ingredients, Gold Star Daily has learned, are listed as hazardous by World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) International. PAN uses the definition of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of hazardous pesticides as “those linked with a high incidence of severe or irreversible adverse effects on human health or the environment.”

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Arlene Django

[Philippines] Romancing storms, worms and leaves: Growing native ‘batek’ in the shadow of environmental perils

The town leadership more than a decade ago, as early as 2006, had the foresight to envision environmental management strategies for its communities that included the introduction of organic farming methods for all crops for this largely agricultural town, where residents grow rice, corn, coconuts and other cash crops like bananas, coffee and tobacco on 4,366 hectares, 42 percent of its land area.

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Ruthela Mabalo, 73, a comprador at the Bagsakan, the tobacco trading center in Laguindingan town in Misamis Oriental, examines a mano (a sheaf of 100 batek leaves) before she decides to buy them from a farmer-seller. (photo by Lina Sagaral Reyes)

[Philippines] Romancing storms, worms and leaves: Growing tobacco in the shadow of environmental perils in Misor

In October 2018, at the eighth Conference of Parties (COP8) in Geneva, the WHO FCTC spotlighted Article 18, which commits signatory countries like the Philippines, to addressing the environmental impacts caused by tobacco agriculture as well as the health of growers. 

On the ground, however, it is easier said than done. While the number of farmers and the hectarage had significantly declined in the past seven years nationwide, Misamis Oriental had seen an upsurge as farmers turn to tobacco as major crop once again.

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A makeshift hut in Bin Dong camp, one of five temporary shelters for people affected by a dam collapse in southern Laos in July. People here have built the huts as extensions, saying the tents are too hot during the day time / Credit: Visarut Sankham

[Laos] Left to fend for themselves

Even six months after the collapse of the Saddle Dam D section of the Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy hydropower project, which severely destroyed six villages in southern Laos and buried more than 55,200 hectares of land under deep floodwater, the victims still have no certainty about their future.

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The Ton River is seen in Kua village, Laos, on Dec. 24, 2018 / Credit: Somphavanh

[Laos] Poisoned fish worries village as Sangthong district promotes good agricultural practices

The people of Kua village in Sangthong district depend on the Ton River for their livelihoods. It is a prime source of food for the community and provides fishermen an income. It is a source of drinking water for the many diverse animals that live in the area. Locals use the water from the river on a daily basis for drinking, bathing and washing.

Villagers say the number of fish and aquatic life in the Ton River has been on the decline ever since the Chinese-owned Yongzhen Import-Export Production Promotion Company started planting bananas there in 2014.

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