» 04/18/2015, 00.00
Astana: elites discuss climate change, while children get sick and faint
Seminar on environmental challenges and the use of hydrocarbons in Almaty. Academic and scientific experts discuss economic development of Central Asian nations. But the oil industry is poisoning the land. Dozens of people suffering from fainting because of toxic fumes.
Astana (AsiaNews) - "Before, he had convulsions. Now, the boy’s blood pressure falls sharply, his legs become numb and he loses the ability to speak". This is the testimony of Tlek Temirgaliyev, the father of a child of the Kazakh sixth grade hit by a strange disease that causes the boy to faint. While the top academic and scientific experts discuss the development of hydrocarbons and the challenge posed by climate change during a seminar organized in Almaty, new cases of children sick from pollution caused by the oil industry emerge.
The largest Central Asian hosted a scientific seminar April 16th, organized by the Foundation for the Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) in collaboration with the National Technical University of Kazakhstan (ZazNTU). The seminar - entitled "Central Asia: the development of hydrocarbons and the challenge of climate change" - is one of the initiatives promoted by the "Asia Centre" Research Institute (based in Paris), which has been conducting research for the past two years on how combine economic development of the countries of Central Asia with environmental protection.
The problem of pollution is felt particularly in the poor villages of the west of the country, where for years there have been numerous cases of "strange diseases", like that of sudden sleep, which cyclically continues to affect village of Kalachi. Or the "strange fainting" affecting children of the village of Berezovka since November 2014, in which Temirgaliyev’s son is just one of many cases. All patients - about 50 people since the appearance of the first episodes - reported the same symptoms: dizziness, cramps and nausea.
New cases of fainting occurred on April 11, when two children of the fifth and sixth grade were at school. Their teachers and fellow pupils tried to help them regain consciousness, without success, until they were taken to hospital. Residents blame toxic waste products from the nearby Karachaganak field, where the foreign company Karachaganak Petroleum Operating BV extracts oil and gas in an area that covers 280 km². Residents fear that their health problems are linked to the poisoning of the environment and have asked the local authorities to be transferred to settlements far from the polluted area. So far they have received no response.
Chinese river diversion project threatening Kazakhstan's Lake Balkhash
Chinese plans to divert a river that flows into the lake come under scrutiny. Scientists fear the lake might disappear in just a few years. Should this happen several nations would suffer a major environmental disaster.
The "graveyard of ships" in Gujarat, a dump for the poisons of the rich world
In the port of Alang every year hundreds of ships and oil tankers are dismantled and destroyed. But the pollution they produce is lethal because they contain toxic paints, gases, lead, asbestos. India, Bangladesh, China offer the "ports of poisons" for the rest of the world.
Beijing, lead in water 20 times higher than health safety levels
A recent study by Chinese scientists shows that the Danjiangkou reservoir, which supplies the capital, contains 200 micrograms of lead per liter. According to government figures, the level is 10 micrograms.
Pollution causes 1.6 million deaths per year in China
UC Berkeley researchers have used Google Maps (obscured in China) to create a live map of air pollution in the country. Between April and August 2014, 38% of Chinese lived in an environment harmful to health.
World Bank loan for rehabilitation of the Ganges
The sacred river is one of the most polluted in the world. The problem also extends to its tributaries. Approximately 400 million people live along the river banks. Other rehabilitation programs have come to no end. The pollution produces tumours in the population.
Pope: together with the faithful in China on 24 May to celebrate Our Lady of Sheshan
During the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis speaks about the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, instituted by Benedict XVI. Chinese Catholics must make a “personal contribution to communion among believers and to harmony in the whole society." AsiaNews Symposium on the Church in China is set for this week. Francis appeals for peace in the Central African Republic, and for loving “one another following the example of the Lord”. For him, “Sometimes conflicts, pride, envy, and divisions leave a blotch on the beautiful face of the Church.” Five new cardinals will be named, including a bishop from Laos.
May 24, 2017: 'China, the Cross is Red', AsiaNews Symposium
The event will be held to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. A title with many meanings: the Cross is red from the blood of the martyrs; From attempts to suffocate the faith with state control; Bceause of the contribution of hope that Christianity gives to a population tired of materialism and consumerism that is seeking new moral criteria. The theme is also about the great and unexpected religious rebirth in the country. Guests to include: Card. Pietro Parolin, Msgr. Savio Hon, the sociologist of religions Richard Madsen, the testimonies of Chinese priests and laity.
18/05/2017 ASIA - VATICAN
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.