Quantcast
Politics
Children fishing in Tamil Nadu, the Indian region where protests took place partly over concerns of a copper smelter's impact on fish. Abhishek.cty / CC BY-SA 4.0

Police Open Fire on Pollution Protesters in India, Killing at Least 9

A protest of a controversial copper smelter in the Tamil Nadu state on the southeastern tip of India took a violent turn Tuesday when police opened fire on demonstrators, killing at least nine, Reuters reported.


On Wednesday, as another person was killed and others injured by gunfire during continued unrest, the Madras High Court ordered the smelter to put plans to double its size on hold, Reuters further reported.

The smelter, located in the port city of Thootukudi, is one of the largest in the country and is run by the London-based Vedanta Resources, one of the largest mining companies in the world, according to The Guardian.

Community members and environmental activists have been protesting the plant and its proposed expansion for three months, saying that it emits air pollution and water pollution and is hurting the health of human residents and fish.

The protests come as India is struggling to combat deadly pollution. Early this month, The most recent World Health Organization report on air quality found that two of the world's six most polluted megacities are in India. According to a study by The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, 2.5 million people died in India due to pollution in 2015, the highest number of pollution-caused deaths in any country in the world, NDTV reported in 2017.

Wednesday's court order required authorities to hold a "mandatory" hearing open to the public on Vedanta's environmental clearance application and said the "appropriate authorities" would consider that application, Reuters reported.

Before the court's decision, the local pollution regulator had ordered the plant shut until June 6 for failing to comply with environmental rules. It has been shut for 50 days so far, but activists want to see it closed permanently.

"The inaction of the government has led to the people's protests, and police resorting to firing to control it. Action should be taken to shut down the plant immediately to address this issue," leader of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam opposition group M.K. Stalin said in a Facebook post, according to Reuters.

Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami said the police had no choice but to open fire after demonstrators burned cars and threw stones.

An anonymous company official told Reuters that demonstrators carrying black flags had rushed an apartment complex where Vedanta employees are living, as well as the district government headquarters.

But Rahul Gandhi, the leader of India's opposition Congress party condemned the killings.

"The gunning down by the police of nine people in ... Tamil Nadu, is a brutal example of state-sponsored terrorism. These citizens were murdered for protesting against injustice. My thoughts & prayers are with the families of these martyrs and the injured," he tweeted.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Popular
Glyphosate applied to a North Yorkshire field. Chafer Machinery / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

EU Approval of Glyphosate Based on Review That Plagiarized Monsanto Studies

The European Union's license extension of the world's most popular weedkiller, glyphosate, was based on a review that heavily plagiarized industry studies, according to a report (pdf) commissioned by European parliamentarians (MEPs).

The new analysis released Tuesday compares whether a risk assessment of the controversial herbicide was actually authored by scientists representing Germany's Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) or by the European Glyphosate Task Force (GTF), an industry group that includes Monsanto, the manufacturer of glyphosate-based Roundup, in its ranks.

Keep reading... Show less
Insights/Opinion
Rising temperatures and more frequent wildfires in Alaskan national parks could affect caribou's habitat and winter food sources. Zak Richter / NPS

To Preserve National Parks in a Warming World, Reconnect Fragmented Public Lands

By Stephen Nash

The Trump administration's decision to keep many U.S. national parks open during the current federal government shutdown, with few or no staff, spotlights how popular and how vulnerable these unique places are.

Some states, such as Utah and Arizona, have spent heavily to keep parks open rather than lose tourist revenues. Unfortunately, without rangers to enforce rules, some visitors have strewn garbage and vandalized scenic areas.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Emma Bray of Denver, a plaintiff on the youth-led climate lawsuit, Martinez v. COGCC. @youthvgov / Twitter

Colorado's Top Court Sides Against Youth in Major Anti-Fracking Case

Colorado's oil and gas industry breathed a sigh of relief on Monday after the state's highest court overturned a lower court decision that said state regulators must consider public health and the environment in permitting oil and gas production.

The unanimous ruling was a disappointment for the teenage plaintiffs, including high-profile climate activist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, who led the closely watched lawsuit against the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC).

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
The possible site of Thailand-based PTT Global Chemical's ethane cracker plant along the Ohio River, as seen from Moundsville, West Virginia. Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley ReSource

Taking on Climate Change and Petrochemicals in the Ohio River Valley

When it comes to the fossil fuel industry, we've all heard the promises before: new jobs, economic growth and happier communities, all thanks to their generosity and entrepreneurial spirit.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Insights/Opinion

A Call for the Food Movement to Rally Behind the Green New Deal

By Ronnie Cummins

"The Green New Deal we are proposing will be similar in scale to the mobilization efforts seen in World War II or the Marshall Plan … Half measures will not work … The time for slow and incremental efforts has long past [sic]." - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, then-candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, Huffington Post, June 26, 2018

Keep reading... Show less
Oceans
The Great Australian Bight is home to one of only two southern right whale calving grounds in the world. Bob Adams / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Seismic Blasting Approved in the Great Australian Bight, Posing 'Lethal Threat' to Marine Life

Australia's petroleum regulator granted permission for seismic blasting in the Great Australian Bight, sparking fierce outcry from environmentalists over its threat to the area's marine life, whihc include endangered blue and southern right whales.

On Monday, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) gave the green light to oil and gas exploration services company PGS Australia's application for seismic surveys off the coast of South Australia's Kangaroo Island and Eyre Peninsula between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30 this year.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Food
Frank Giustra

This Everest Greenhouse Is One of the Highest Gardens in the World

By Frank Giustra

Food has never been the main attraction—or even a side attraction—of my trekking adventures. Instead, it has primarily been an inconvenient necessity, largely consisting of rice, beans and other forms of sustenance. Without fresh vegetables, herbs and garlic, it all starts to taste the same after a day or two.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Madeleine_Steinbach / iStock / Getty Images

11 Surprising Benefits and Uses of Myrrh Oil

By Marsha McCulloch, MS, RD

You may be familiar with myrrh from Biblical stories even if you're not sure what it is.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!