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International Update Volume 48, Issue 18

CHINA CRACKS DOWN ON "PERFUNCTORY" ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

China

In an effort to crack down on officials who are engaging in "perfunctory" environmental protection work, China has ordered inspectors to keep their eyes peeled for perfunctory, superficial, or fraudulent environmental rectifications. Inspectors have been reviewing authorities' responses to environmental violations previously uncovered during a central government probe. In the first half of June, 641 firms were fined a total of 58 million yuan ($8.92 million) for failing to properly rectify violations, and 58 people were detained. A second round of inspections is underway.

THAILAND PREPARES TOTAL BAN ON ELECTRONIC WASTE IMPORTS

Thailand

On June 21, Thailand's Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Gen. Surasak Karnjanarat, announced that he will lead an effort to institute a total ban on the import of electronic waste. Electronic waste creates significant health concerns, as many components are laden with toxic materials like lead and mercury. Thai police began raiding factories last month that have been accused of illegally importing and processing electronic waste. So far, over 30 factories have been raided.

EU COURT RULES FINCH TRAPPING IN MALTA IS ILLEGAL

Malta

On June 20, the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that Malta broke EU law by allowing the hunting and trapping of wild finch species. The ECJ declared that Malta failed to fulfill its obligations under the European Wild Birds Directive by adopting a derogation regime that allowed the live-capturing of seven species of wild finches. Finch-trapping was once common across Europe, but the introduction of the EU's Wild Birds Directive, which aims to conserve avian species and prevent habitat destruction, has effectively rolled back the practice.