Environmental Threats

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From Computer Weekly{For educational purposes only}

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cle source: Computer Weekly News Watchdog warns of Y2K threat to environment Bill Goodwin

Year 2000 failures will pose a serious threat to the environment unless firms take urgent action, the Government's environment watchdog has warned.

Millennium bug-related failures could cause severe damage to ecosystems and rivers, releasing noxious fumes and damage to drinking water supplies, the Environment Agency said.

Progress by eco-sensitive sectors of industry is inadequate or running late, and some companies with environmentally sensitive systems do not have complete contingency plans in place.

Of 400 companies questioned by the agency, the preparations of less than half can be classed as "good". Even in the best-prepared sectors, such as the chemical industry, 30% of the firms have made "poor" or "medium" progress.

"While there is a high level of awareness of the bug issue," said Dr Paul Leinster, the agency's director of environmental protection, "in many cases the work is not comprehensive enough or is running late."

Sectors lagging behind include agriculture, where the preparations of only 17% of organisations are classed as "good", wood production (21%) and the paper industry (27%).

Of the better performing industries, half of the mining and quarrying firms are in the good category along with 70% of chemical companies and 90% of utilities.

There is still time for industry to address Y2K problems if they act now, the agency said. But companies that do not take action could face prosecution if environmental damage occurs.

"We will not regard year 2000-related failures as mitigating circumstances when considering whether or not to prosecute," said Leinster.

Best and worst industries for Y2K

Industry Good Medium Poor Agriculture 17% 17% 67% Wood production 21% 50% 29% Paper industry 27% 64% 9% All manufacturing 47% 40% 13% Mining/quarrying 50% 36% 14% Food manufacture 50% 44% 6% Chemical industry 69% 25% 5% Utilities 89% 11% 0% Overall 42% 35% 23%

-- Mike Lang (webflier@erols.com), May 13, 1999


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Trying again.

-- Mike Lang (
webflier@erols.com), May 13, 1999.

Thanks, Mike. This doesn't appear to be USA (how utterly parochial of me!) Any thoughts?

-- Brooks (brooksbie@hotmail.com), May 13, 1999.


I seem to get that response on some posts. Y2K is global. I am trying to step away from a narrow view and look at the larger picture. What I see is not particularly reassuring. More and more I am coming to understand the two Eds and their forecast of economic problems. I think that both of them may have understated the results, but that is easy for me to say. In this instance, we may have some of the same problems.

-- Mike Lang (webflier@erols.com), May 14, 1999.

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