RELEASE: Is the Water Safe To Drink? Without Better Access to Pollution Information, Asia’s Poorest People Don’t Know
RELEASE: Is the Water Safe To Drink?
Without Better Access to Pollution Information, Asia’s Poorest People Don’t Know.
Despite passing strong “right to know” laws, governments are still putting their poorest communities at risk by failing to release pollution information that they are legally required to disclose.
Launching at this year’s World Water Week that focuses on water and waste, the report Thirsting for Justice: Transparency and Poor People’s Struggle for Clean Water in Indonesia, Mongolia, and Thailand examines vulnerable communities’ access to water pollution information.
WRI analysis shows that, although governments have passed laws that protect citizens’ right to environmental information and mandate public disclosure of this data, officials are failing to live up to their legal obligation—either proactively or upon request.
Governments that fail to provide that information are violating their citizens’ human rights."
Yet secrecy around the amount and type of chemicals that companies discharge is still the norm, especially in Asia.
“Without it, poor, marginalized communities cannot participate in decision-making, let alone hold governments and more powerful corporations accountable for contaminating their local water sources.” In Thailand, a country with one of the most advanced environmental disclosure regimes in the world, residents of Map Ta Phut, a sprawling industrial estate that hosts more than 140 petrochemical facilities, still don’t know if their water is safe to use.
When governments do release environmental data, officials often provide limited information that community members can neither access nor understand.
For instance, Thai government officials frequently respond to information requests in English, which most Map Ta Phut residents do not speak.