In South Asia

Spoilt milk
Nestle Lanka, the Sri Lankan subsidiary of a multinational food firm, has had to send back a consignment of radioactive milk powder imported from Poland. In November 1993, Sri Lankan customs officials found the milk powder contained more radioactive particles than permissible.

Sri Lanka resumed checks on imported milk foods after Bangladesh recently rejected a consignment of milk that was found to be radioactive.

Polythene bags out
BANGLADESH has banned the production of polythene shopping bags, to protect the environment and increase the use of jute bags, which are made of natural fibre.

According to a report by Mostafa Kamal Majumder, Industry representatives are lobbying to get the ban lifted, pointing to the sector's employment potential and the huge investment of about $75,000 in each unit manufacturing such bags. Environmentalists, on the other hand, strongly support the ban.

Bio-fuels dominate
ACCORDING to a report of the Household Energy Strategy of Pakistan, quoted by the Panos Institute, 95 per cent of the energy consumed in rural households and 56 per cent of that in urban homes comes from bio-fuels

An average family in northern Pakistan uses approximately 60 kg of fuelwood per week. Firewood use is highest in Baluchistan -- where other fuels are scarce -- and least in Punjab, which has abundant alternatives.

Power project opposed
ENVIRONMENTALISTS in Nepal are up in arms against the proposed Arun III hydro-electric power project in east Nepal. They argue that there are more practical, cost-effective and environmentally-sound methods of power generation, according to a Panos Features report.

The Kathmandu-based Alliance for Energy asserts that instead of such grandiose projects built with foreign capital and technology, Nepal should follow the "small is powerful" approach.