Make India Asbestos Free

Make India Asbestos Free
For Asbestos Free India

Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) works for Asbestos Free India inspired by trade union leader Purnendu Majumadar. Occupational Health India and ToxicsWatch Alliance are its members that includes doctors, researchers and activists. BANI demands criminal liability for companies and medico-legal remedy for victims. It works with trade unions, human rights, environmental, consumer and public health groups. For Details:1715krishna@gmail.com, oshindia@yahoo.in

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Stop exporting asbestos

While Canadians take great care to ensure its own safety against dangerous asbestos, Canada remains a leading exporter of this killer substance to places like India and Pakistan.

I humbly request you solidity with workers in India and the global south. I appeal to you to stop exporting asbestos; 95 per cent of Canada's asbestos is exported to India and other countries where it is handled by desperately poor workers under dangerous conditions. It is creating a public health tragedy of diseases and death.

More than 100,000 workers are exposed to asbestos daily in India and are falling sick and dying from Canadian chrysotile asbestos. It is not just the workers who suffer, their families bear the burden of disease, too, by losing their sole breadwinner and are left destitute.

Mr. Prime Minister, I appeal to you to listen to their plea and support the health and lives of workers in India and the global south. They have few protections and they need your help. On Feb. 5, all the major trade unions of India and labour support groups called for a ban on asbestos. Please listen to the voices of those workers in India.

The government of South Africa, which was a major supplier of the chrysotile asbestos, has just stopped doing so. If the government of South Africa can put the lives of people ahead of the interest of the asbestos industry why cannot the Canadian government do the same?

On Feb. 20, despite pressure from Canadians, the Canadian Labour Congress put a hold on banning asbestos mining. Roughly 700 people work in Quebec's asbestos industry. Canada is the only developed nation still producing the mineral chrysolite which is unacceptable. A call for a total ban is long overdue.

Dr. T. M. Abraham
Welland Tribune

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