Make India Asbestos Free

Make India Asbestos Free
For Asbestos Free India

Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) works for Asbestos Free India since 2002. Occupational Health India and ToxicsWatch Alliance are its members that includes occupational health doctors, researchers and activists. BANI demands criminal liability for companies and medico-legal remedy for victims. It works with trade unions, human rights, environmental and public health groups. For Details:krishna1715@gmail.com, oshindia@yahoo.in, toxicswatchallaince@gmail.com

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Rajasthan Withdraws Demand for Lifting Asbestos Ban

Rajasthan government has withdrawn its insistent demand from the Union Ministry of Mines for lifting the ban on asbestos mining.

In India alone more than 30 mines are operational in Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan. About 2500 tonnes of chrysotile (Serpentine) and 36,500 tonnes of tremolite (Amphibole) asbestos are annually mined in India. Asbestos production at present is about 2000 tonnes per month from their own mines in Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar. In addition, India imports asbestos worth Rs 40 – 50 crores annually, without mentioning any remarks of hazardous product (Govt. of India., 1997,1999). The tremolite asbestos variety of amphibole group mined accounts 58% in Rajasthan. Tremolite and Anthophyllite are the largest amphibole deposits in Rajasthan known so far (Mansinghka and Ranawat, 1996).

In India asbestos mining and milling is concentrated to the mainly small-scale sector. Asbestos deposits in Rajasthan are primarily located in Beawar, Deogarh and Jharol ultramafic belts (Mansighka and Ranawat; 1996).

Rajasthan state had consistently raised this issue with the Union Ministry Mines till November, 2009 but its "Compendium of issues Pending with Government of India" dated February 2010 does not mention it.

Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) had written to the Chief Minister, Rajasthan and has been pursuing the demand for complete ban since 2002. It briefed senior leaders like Maharaja Gaj Singh, former Speaker of Rajasthan Assebly. Now the state is not interested in re-opening of asbestos mines although Rajasthan has the largest deposits and produces most low grade asbestos in the country.

There is technical ban on renewal and grant of fresh asbestos mining leases in the country due to the adverse effects on the health of those working in such mines. Asbestos fibres get embedded in lungs ultimately causing lung cancer and other incurable diseases.

BANI has been critical of the dubious role of some officials of Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) who prepared a report at the behest of the asbestos mining lobby to allow lifting of ban on asbestos mining disregarding workers' plight.

1 comment:

Mark Germine said...

Tremolite asbestos is likely extremely dangerous, more so, in my opinion as an expert with professional publication, than any other form of asbestos. Davis and others found that tremolite was by far the most carcinogenic asbestos tested, with the finding of mesothelioma after whole-body exposure, essentially a respiratory exposure. No mineral fiber compares, yet I see no studies of the medical issues in workers, even if the mines have closed to tremolite, these workers must be found and study. There is no "control" that will make the tremolite asbestos safe, and we are most concerned of where these tremolite asbestos and products are sent.

Are any of the tremolite asbestos mines currently active? We would appreciate a response as my communications to government agencies have not been answered.

Mark Germine, MD, MS (Geology)

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