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Global Voices’ top stories on environmental destruction, as the planet just observed World Environment Day

The proposed Kanal Istanbul project would split Istanbul's European continent by a 45km long shipping canal joining the Black Sea to the Marmara, and running parallel to the Bosphorus strait. Screenshot from BBC News Türkçe video 

June 5 marks World Environmental Day, the date chosen by the United Nations in 1972 to raise global awareness about the vital importance of the environment.

Global Voices has covered environmental issues extensively over the years, and one focus of our stories has been the way pollution, as well as massive urbanization, development infrastructures, human-caused accidents are destroying fragile ecosystems, poisoning the food chain and harming humans as well as animals. Here are the ones that have most captured our attention so far this year:

Are GDP and environmental protection necessarily a contradiction? While many governments tend to prioritize economic growth, including foreign investment, they forget or ignore the fact that on the long term, societies end up playing a high price to compensate for natural destruction brought by project not meeting environmental standards.

For certain governments, one quick way to claim a green GDP is to simply export their waste to other countries and let those countries deal with the consequences of their own unsustainable model of consumerism.

While nearly 70 percent of the world's population now lives in cities, urban development is often failing to include green models of planning to accommodate even larger numbers f urban dwellers.

The Japanese government has announced it plans to release contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean in 2023, yet this decision poses serious implications for communities along the Fukushima coastline.

Oil tankers are a source of major ocean and water pollution around the world. When governments do not react timely to such threats, environmental activists are on the frontline to raise awareness and call for real action.

In Oman the government is determined to ignore concern by environmental activists in order to go ahead with urban development despite the threats posed to a lush valley.

A port development project might put at risk Peru's biodiversity, recognized as one of the most diverse in the world. While civil society was able to push back once, the government is apparently approving the project without major changes and despite an independent environmental assessment demonstrating a negative impact for local communities.

In Trinidad and Tobago, residents are committed to stop a quarry project in the country's last valley with untouched watershed, and this for the third time as government and business seem to ignore their plea for dropping the project.

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