Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Pollution and slavery

China's forced the World Bank to censor a study for fear that one of its findings - that 750,000 people die of pollution-related illness each year - might stoke social unrest.

China's environment watchdog Sepa (the State Environment Protection Agency) and the Health Ministry reportedly asked the World Bank to cut the calculations of premature deaths from the report when a draft was finished last year.

Deaths from diarrhoea and cancer caused by polluted water correspond to 66,000 premature deaths a year.

The World Bank previously reported that 16 of the world's 20 most polluted cities were in China.

Meanwhile similar to the slave labour discovered in China , in Brazil more than 1,000 "enslaved" workers have been released from a sugar cane plantation in the Amazon following a raid that has highlighted the dark side of the current ethanol boom. Brazilian authorities said that the workers in the northern state of Para were being forced to work 14-hour days in horrendous conditions cutting cane for ethanol production. The plantation's owner, Para Pastoril e Agricola SA, are one of the biggest ethanol producers in Brazil .

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