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Economic growth poses threat to Asia

UNBRIDLED economic growth in Asian countries could mean ecological disaster unless governments actively pursue new policies based on the emerging science of cleaner production.

Curtin University of Technology cleaner production chair Rene Van Berkel said without such new policies Asian governments and industries ran the risk of causing further serious economic damage in the wake of the currency crisis.

He said cleaner production aimed to minimise waste and emissions at their source rather than treating them after they have been generated.

“Cleaner production is of extreme importance to Asia since it improves efficiency and strengthens the competitiveness of those companies adopting it,” Professor Van Berkel said.

There are ample signs of environmental disaster in Asia including serious air pollution in major cities such as Bangkok, Jakarta and Manila.

In 1997 the World Bank estimated the costs of current damage by air and water pollution in the People’s Republic of China alone to be US$54 billion – nearly 8 per cent of China’s GDP.

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