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Asean govts face 5 key issues in resolving environ issues
KUALA LUMPUR: Asian governments face five key challenges in resolving the environment issues, said Prof Euston Quah, Nanyang Technological University’s head, Department of Economics, School of Humanities & Social Sciences.
He said the challenges were not-in-my-back-yard (NIMBY) issue, pricing of non-market goods, solid waste disposal, trans-boundary pollution and climate change.
Quah said the NIMBY challenge could lead to the failure of a planned project due to insufficient support by the people immediately affected.
"To deal with this, siting NIMBY facilities should be in areas where people would least mind them," Quah said at a public lecture entitled, "Economic Growth and Environmental Sustainability: Some Key Challenges For Asian Governments", at University of Malaya here today.
Secondly, he said, the Asian governments faced the challenge of pricing non-market goods.
"Green goods lack property rights and are not traded in the market which means prices have to be computed using alternative valuation mechanisms appropriate for each government," he said.
The third challenge, Quah said, was how to address the solid waste disposal arising from the fact that countries were becoming increasingly affluent resulting in higher consumption and an increase in waste generated.
Some of the approaches were either too expensive and or incomplete, or may even face the NIMBY problem, he said.
He said the fourth challenge was the trans-boundary pollution, adding that typically, the benefits from polluting industries accrued to one city or country, but costs were imposed on others.
According to Quah, solutions must take into account the relative contributions to pollution and its cost.
Quah said that trying to resolve any environmental challenge would be incomplete without considering the challenges posed by climate change.
He said that other issues that Asian governments needed to consider, namely uncertainty regarding the magnitude of the impacts of climate change, biased media reporting, long- and short-run trade-offs and weather phenomena.
Quah also said that moving forward, environmental issues were important aspects in forging growth for the Asian countries.
"It will be costly to tackle these issues but at the same time, it will be beneficial. The Asian governments have to focus on the trade-offs and understand what are they are.
"I think the Asian governments can do a lot more than what they are doing now. They can pay more attention on matters related to the people, such as clean air, clean water and protection of heritage sites," he said.
He said priorities for some of the Asian governments should be to ensure stability of jobs, income, a better quality of life and the ability to have better consumption. -- BERNAMA