Top news: A Greenpeace study has found chemicals in Chinese toys that threaten children’s immune and endocrine systems; Amazon deforestation rose dramatically in March and April while Brazil debates an amnesty law for illegal loggers; The UK intends to renew its nuclear submarines fleet; Plans by a Spanish construction company could destroy the ecosystem of a Mexican National Park.

© Yang Di / Greenpeace

 

#Toxics: An independent laboratory commissioned by Greenpeace to test Chinese toys discovered dangerous toxics in 21 out of 30 samples purchased in four Chinese cities. The chemicals discovered within toys included phthalate, an additive used to soften plastic, which is known to cause hormone malfunctions and reproductive problems in those exposed to it. "Children are one of the most vulnerable groups to hormone disruptors - they like to put things in their mouths, and their reproductive, immune and endocrine systems are still developing," said Greenpeace campaigner Vivian Yau.

Greenpeace is urging Beijing and Hong Kong to ban the use of toxics in toys – just as other some other countries have done. "Governments in the EU and North America have all recognised the serious health concerns of phthalates for children, yet in China and Hong Kong, kids are unprotected from these harmful toxins" continues Vivian Yau.

#Forests: Amazon deforestation  increased in March and April, especially in the Mato Grosso area. Satellite views show that, compared to the same period last year, deforestation rate rose by a shocking 473% - this means 593sqkm of forest has been destroyed in just two months. In the meantime, the Brazilian government is debating a law that would grant amnesties to farmers that cleared the land by illegally cutting down trees.

Greenpeace forest campaigner Marcio Astrini said that “You have 300-400 lawmakers here in Brasilia sending the message that profiting from deforestation will be given amnesty and that crime pays”.

#Disarmament: The UK intends to renew its Trident nuclear submarines fleet by investing £25bn, figure that excludes the price of the nuclear warheads, the running costs, and the bill for leasing missiles from the US.

Louise Edge of Greenpeace's disarmament campaign, said: "Just a week ago, Nick Clegg, argued that his party had stopped the key Conservative policy of replacing the Trident nuclear weapons during this parliament, and that this was a key win for the Lib Dems. "She added: "Today's bullish announcement by the defence secretary, committing billions of pounds to ploughing ahead with new Trident submarines, suggests Clegg's been sold a pup".

#Oceans: Spanish construction company Hansa Urbana has put forward a major construction plan for an area that is alarmingly close to Mexico’s Cabo Palumo National Park. The project, in the Cabo Cortés, includes seven hotels, ten thousand homes, two golf courses, a harbour, one private airport and other infrastructures. According to Alejandro Olivera of Greenpeace Mexico, Cabo Palumo was called “the world’s aquarium” by the explorer and environmentalist Jacques Cousteau, because it is an extremely important ecosystem in terms of marine population and variety of species. Moreover, the area is classified as World Heritage site by UNESCO and is also a Ramsar Convention site. Greenpeace believes that Hansa Urbana ‘s massive urbanisation project will upset the equilibrium of this ecosystem, threatening the richness of the coral reef and local fishing activities.