India's drug abuse, Chinese NGO win, food production emissions and refugee worker abuse
Include ill-effects of drugs and alcohol in curriculum, says Indian NGO
In response to work by local children’s NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), the Supreme Court in India has asked the central government to consider incorporating materials covering the harmful effects of alcohol and drug use in the school curriculum.
The counsel appearing for the NGO told the court that the country had witnessed an “alarming” spurt in the use of drugs among children in India, and there was an urgent need for education on the issue.
According to the Childline India Foundation, 13% of the people involved in drug and substance abuse in India are below the age of 20, with heroin, opium, alcohol, cannabis and propoxyphene being the five most common drugs abused by children in India.
Unprecedented legal win by environmental NGOs in China
Two NGOs have become the first in China to win a lawsuit filed on behalf of the public against corporate polluters.
A court in the province of Fujian ruled in favour of NGOs Green Home of Fujian and Beijing-based Friends of Nature in a lawsuit against four mining companies that have destroyed a 1.9 hectare forest.
While courts across the country have yet to process thousands of cases filed since a 2015 legal amendment that allows NGOs to take action against those that harm or destroy the environment, this victory marks a turning point in efforts to hold corporate polluters in China accountable for environmentally detrimental practices.
Food producers have larger emissions than whole countries
Global Justice Now has released a report that estimates the real climate impact of agri-business corporations and argues that undisclosed emissions by food companies, arising from the end use of products or from multinationals’ supply chains, dwarf direct emissions declared by corporations.
The report “Silent but Deadly” cites Cargill’s reported 15m tonnes of annual emissions compared with an estimated 145m tonnes if the figure includes hidden emissions from growing feed crops and their use by livestock.
Findings also reveal that food producers Cargill, Tyson and Yara together have a bigger climate footprint than entire countries including the Netherlands, Columbia or Vietnam.
In response, companies say they are not ignoring indirect emissions but that reporting on them presents new challenges that they are working on.
Refugee abuse in Middle East overshadowed by European crisis
A research paper, “The Other Migrant Crisis, Protecting Migrant Workers against Exploitation in the Middle East and North Africa”, is hoping to bring attention to the plight of refugees in the MENA region.
Produced under the International Organisation for Migration’s Action to Protect and Assist Vulnerable and Exploited Migrant Workers in the Middle East and North Africa (Pave Project) and in partnership with the Walk Free Foundation, the research highlights the need to support more than 4 million Syrian refugees across the region, in addition to Iraqi refugees who have fled from Daesh’s brutality.
Among the vulnerabilities presented in the report is worker exploitation, as many refugees, desperate for money, are willing to work longer hours for less pay. Human trafficking and child labour are also cited as major threats, especially in Lebanon – host to more than 1 million Syrian refugees – where child labour is reported to be on the rise.