Seven Activists Honored For Improving Environment in Their Nations

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This is the VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT.

Seven activists from around the world have received the Goldman Environmental Prize for two thousand nine.  Former Vice President Al Gore presented the prizes in San Francisco, California last week.

Marc Ona Essangui of Libreville, Gabon, won from Africa.  Mr. Ona heads two environmental organizations in Gabon.  He has worked to make known the unlawful agreements behind a huge Chinese mining project.  The project threatens Gabon's rainforests.  Mr. Ona has faced threats of arrest and prison for his efforts.

Maria Gunnoe of the Appalachian area of West Virginia in the United States won from North America.  Ms. Gunnoe works with a coalition to organize neighborhood groups to fight environmentally harmful activities by coal companies. She has had to take security measures to protect her family from threats.

Rizwana Hasan, the honoree from Asia, is an environmental lawyer from Bangladesh.  Ms. Hasan has worked to make the public aware of the dangers of the ship-breaking industry.  Ships no longer in use contain dangerous materials which can be released into the environment when they are taken apart.  Her efforts have led to stronger environmental rules governing the ship-breaking industry.

Russian scientist Olga Speranskaya of Moscow won from Europe.  Ms. Speranskaya has led efforts against organic pollutants and the transport and burial of dangerous chemicals.   She was honored for organizing a coalition of non-governmental groups and government agencies in eleven former Soviet states.

The winner for Islands and Island Nations is Yuyun Ismawati. She is an environmental engineer in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia.  Yuyun Ismawati helps poor communities design safe waste management programs. She started her own non-governmental organization to expand her environmental management programs to other areas of Indonesia.

Hugo Jabini and Wanze Eduards won from South and Central America.  They are from Suriname, in the Amazon Basin tropical forest.  They organized their Saramaka people against tree-cutting by lumber companies on their traditional lands.  The action led to a court ruling supporting all native peoples throughout the Americas.

And that's the VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT, written by Jerilyn Watson. You can find transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our reports at voaspecialenglish.com.

Voice of America Special English

Source: Seven Activists Honored For Improving Environment in Their Nations
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