Chun Knee Tan Asian Rare Earth (ARE)
alrite...kt sini aku nk kongsi sikit 1 case study yg menarik..yg mane case ni actually de kaitan dgn presentation group aku psl radiation on subject Environmental Health and Safety ENV 510..case ni psl 1 company Jepun joint venture dgn company Malaysia nk construct 1 radiation waste dumping site kt Papan Perak,but kene tentang oleh penduduk kt bukit Merah berdekatan dgn kwsn Papan ni..so,almaklumlah Islam kn galakkan kite share ilmu...so,bace la ye~
Social economic background
Furuoka & Lo, 2005
Malaysia's strong orientation towards industrialization caused environmental deterioration and opened the passage for the 'export of pollution'. Some MNCs were aware of a strong developmental drive on the part of Malaysian policymakers and took advantage of this single-minded pursuit of economic development. In this sense, Malaysia's strong industrialization drive has been a 'pull factor' for the 'export of pollution'. The export of 'dirty industries' has been a part of a wider process of environmental deterioration during the period of rapid economic development in Malaysia.
Malaysia with its various tax incentives, cheap labor and political stability is an attractive destination for foreign investors.
The authorities have been unable to assign fair treatment to the local grassroots organizations, or non-governmental organizations (NGOs), that protested against the 'export of pollution' or criticised the government's economic policy. Such NGOs were labelled 'trouble makers' who opposed economic development much needed by the country.
Malaysian policymakers had been preoccupied with the implementation of various economic development projects they did not pay attention to the issues related to environmental preservation that the grassroots organizations were raising.
Why the environmental problem happened?
Furuoka & Lo, 2005
In 1979, Mitsubishi Chemical, or Mitsubishi Kasei, set up a joint venture company with a Malaysian company BEH Minerals and Lembaga Urusan dan Tabung Haji called Asian Rare Earth (ARE) in Malaysia.
The company was attracted to Malaysia by, among other things, being given a special tax-free status - 'pioneer industry' status - that the Malaysian government reserves to attract preferred foreign investors. ARE's purpose was to extract rare earth from monazite in the town of Bukit Merah, in the state of Perak, which used to be a tin mining and farming area.
In 1982, a contract was drawn up whereby it was agreed that the radioactive waste generated would become the property of the Perak State Government.
Sam survey in 1982 on provision for proper waste dumps for industrial toxic wastes among Local authorities all over the country shockingly revealed that there were no facilities for such dumps, and no knowledge of toxic wastes.
There were no established guidelines for disposal.
The Environment Quality (Scheduled Wastes) Regulation 1989 established, few years after the Bukit Merah issue surfaced.
Kualiti Alam, the only waste disposal facilities established in 1991, and completed the facility in 1998.
Why it is important?
Furuoka & Lo, 2005
Since ARE had been established in 1982, the well-being and health of Bukit Merah residents, who were not aware of the potentially hazardous nature of the operation that the company was involved in, had deteriorated.
Since its opening, ARE had not carried out an environmental impact assessment.
Furthermore, for four years, it operated without a permanent, or a temporary, dump site for the waste.
In 1986, Professor Sadao Ichikawa of Saitama University, Japan, carried out a radiation dosimetry test near the ARE factory's waste storage site, in which five out of seven points revealed radiation levels far exceeding the 100 mrem/yr ICRP dose limit.
In 1987 and 1988, Bukit Merah children were tested for total blood count. Some deterioration in the children's health conditions was detected as about 39 percent of them suffered from a triad of mild lymphadenopathy, congestion turbinates and recurrent rhinitis.
In 1989, two children in Bukit Merah, 5 and 7 years old, were diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Local resident in Bukit Merah formed and funded own NGO, the Perak Anti-Radioactivity Committee
Assistance from SAM, CAP, EPSM and some Japanese NGOs.
Japan, Asia, Africa and Latin America Solidarity Committee
Furuoka & Lo, 2005
In February 1985, eight residents of Bukit Merah New Village filed a complaint against ARE with the High Court of Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia alleging that exposure to ARE's radioactive materials and waste were harmful to their health. They demanded the cessation of the plant's operation, clean-up of the radioactive materials and payment for damages (without specifying any amount).
An injunction was obtained in November 1985 ordering ARE to cease its operation.
In February 1987, a licence was granted to ARE by a five-member Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB). ARE interpreted it as the green light to resume its operations even though the legal action was still in process. The factory had in the meantime create a new temporary storage facility.
Meanwhile, the campaign to stop ARE's operations was started in Japan. In April 1990, a collective group of Japanese unions and non-governmental organizations calling themselves the Japan, Asia, Africa and Latin America Solidarity Committee with over 4 million members started a signature campaign calling for the shutdown of ARE. Due to mounting public pressure in Japan, ARE was forced to close its operation in Bukit Merah.
on 23 December 1993, by the ruling of the Supreme Court of Malaysia ARE was allowed to reopen the factory since, apparently, its operation had been considered by the Court as lawful and in compliance with regulations.
In 1992, the Japanese government announced, following the decision, that Japanese factories overseas must not harm the environment, and issued a warning to Mitsubishi (Financial Times, London, 14 July 1992).
Malaysia's most famous environmental battle
Furuoka & Lo, 2005
No final solution has been reached thus far in the Bukit Merah case. The residents did not receive any compensation on the basis of ARE's claim that there had been no conclusive evidence showing the cause of the deterioration of Bukit Merah residents' health.
On 17 January 1994, ARE announced officially that it would close down permanently owing to the following reasons:
(a) Difficulties faced by ARE in obtaining local monazite due to the decline of tin ore mining activities;
(b) Competition from rare earth producers incorporated in foreign countries, especially China, which is the world's largest producer of rare earth.
Harding, Andrew, 1998
One can assume that the virulence of local opposition to the factory had prompt this decision
The appeal was presumably only pursued to save Mitsubishi's face and/or to secure an award of costs.
Residents of Bukit Merah had won the court of public opinion, and ultimately that court proved to be decisive one
Lesson Leaned and Success Factors
Local resident and NGO collaboration
Networking with foreign NGOs, especially the Japanese that give large pressure to Mitsubishi in Japan on the exporting pollution issue.
First demonstration and objection, when the actions is not bringing any result, going for the legal actions
The case of Bukit Merah was brought to public attention and highlighted by the major Malaysian newspapers. This helped to secure support from the general public, scientists and environmentalists both in Malaysia and abroad. (Furuoka & Lo, 2005)
April 2, 2009 at 2:20pm · Report