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Iran: Law to Protect Wetlands

(July 10, 2017) In an effort to counteract the combined effects of climate change, water crises, and human activities that have turned Iran’s once-thriving wetlands into sources of dust and sand storms, the Iranian Parliament has passed the Law to Protect, Restore, and Manage the Country’s Wetlands (Wetlands Protection Law). (Law on Wetlands Protection Ready, […]

China: Laws Amended to Allow Prosecutors to Bring Public Interest Lawsuits

(July 6, 2017) On June 27, 2017, the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) issued a decision on amending the Civil Procedure Law and the Administrative Procedure Law, formally allowing Chinese procuratorates, which in general serve as the prosecutors in criminal cases, to bring public interest lawsuits. (Quanguo Renmin Daibiao Dahui Changwu Weiyuanhui Guanyu […]

United Nations: Treaty on Mercury to Come into Force

(June 7, 2017) On May 19, 2017, the United Nations announced that the Minamata Convention on Mercury will become effective on August 16, 2017.  The Convention has been signed by 128 countries and now ratified or acceded to by more than 50 states, including most recently Bulgaria, Denmark, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Romania, and Sweden.  […]

Indonesia: New Regulation on Emission Levels

(Mar. 31, 2017) On March 10, 2017, Indonesia’s Ministry of the Environment and Forestry (Kementerian Lingkungan Hidup dan Kehtanan) issued a regulation considered to be a “legal umbrella” for the adoption of EURO IV emission levels. Djati Witjaksono, a spokesperson for the Ministry, stated that the new regulation would enter into force when officially issued […]

Kenya: Notice Outlawing Plastic Bags Issued

(Mar. 31, 2017) The Kenyan government recently announced that it will soon institute a national ban on plastic bags.  In a notice in the country’s official gazette dated February 28, 2017, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, Judi W. Wakhungu, announced a ban on “the use, manufacture and importation of all plastic bags used […]

New Zealand: Bill Establishing River as Having Own Legal Personality Passed

(Mar. 22, 2017) On March 14, 2017, the New Zealand Parliament voted to pass the Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River) Claims Settlement Bill (the Bill). (Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River) Claims Settlement Bill, Government Bill 129-2, as reported by the Māori Affairs Committee, New Zealand Legislation website.) The Bill “gives effect to the Whanganui River Deed […]

Germany: Unconventional Fracking Prohibited

(Mar. 8, 2017) On February 11, 2017, an act to prohibit unconventional fracking entered into force in Germany. The Act forms part of a package of laws and regulations that regulate various aspects of fracking and related mining, water, and environmental law issues.  (Gesetz zur Änderung wasser- und naturschutzrechtlicher Vorschriften zur Untersagung und zur Risikominimierung […]

Indonesia: Court Finds Company Guilty of Starting Forest Fire

(Feb. 21, 2017) On February 7, 2017, the South Jakarta District Court issued a guilty decision against the company PT Waringin Agro Jaya (WAJ), which markets palm oil.  The company was found to have deliberately lit a fire to clear land in South Sumatra Province, leading to a forest fire.  WAJ was ordered to pay […]

China: New Law Replacing Pollution Discharge Fee With Environmental Protection Tax

(Feb. 8, 2017) On December 25, 2016, China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee passed the Environmental Protection Tax Law.  When it takes effect on January 1, 2018, the Law will replace the existing pollution discharge fee system with a new environmental protection tax.  (Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Huanjing Baohu Shui fa, NPC website (Dec. 25, […]

United Kingdom: Legislation Proposed to Ban Micro-Beads in Cosmetics and Soaps by October 2017

(Dec. 29, 2016) Microbeads, also known as micro plastics, are tiny plastic beads added as exfoliators to face scrubs, toothpaste, and shower gels. The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee found that around 680 tons of microbeads are used in the United Kingdom annually, and each shower with a product containing these beads can send […]