Environmental Pollution and Hazardous Waste Issues in Asian Countries

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According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), neglect of the environment by Asian countries is costing 8% to their economy, and the extent of degradation is only accelerating (Alan 2002). Asian countries often adopt a ‘Grow First, Clean up Later’ ideology. Asian river systems contain four times the global average level of pollution, and lead emissions are above safe levels in most large cities. Within the next 15 to 20 years, at least 50% of Asian countries, such as China's Pearl River Delta, one of the most important industrial zones in the region, will face major urban sprawl. Based on a study conducted by the University of Hawaii (2002), the energy demand is doubling every 10 years, which results in far more sulfur-dioxide emissions in Asian countries compared to Europe and the US. At the same time, more new industrial operations are taking place in Asian countries. These institutions and systems vary immensely in their ability to regulate, manage, and monitor the environmental impact of industrial operations. At times, large companies have been suspected of seeking “pollution havens” to conduct their business (Xiaodong 2004). In reality, however, there is no evidence to substantiate such claims. In fact, in an increasing number of cases, large companies have been the driving forces behind the build-up of environmental management systems in developing countries (Remy, Felix, and Gary 2002). The quality of a country’s environmental management system is becoming a key asset in the competition for foreign direct investment. Large firms are learning that the social and political consequences of environmental damage, caused by careless operations, can be extremely costly for business. Something has to be done in Asia to curb and control environmental pollution, or the next generation of Asians could become “environmental refugees.”


Keywords: Environmental Management
Stream: Environmental Sustainability
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Environmental Pollution and Hazardous Waste Issues in Asian Countries


Shanmugam Suberamaniam

Student, DBA Center
Faculty of Management, Multimedia University

Cyberjaya, Selangor, Malaysia

The paper is the original work carried out as part of the thesis work leading to DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) to be submitted to the Multi Media University.

R. Venkatapathy

Associate Dean, Faculty of Management, Multimedia University
Cyberjaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Specialist in Management

Ref: S08P0184