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

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bihar CM asked to "Halt construction on any asbestos plant in Bihar" by Linda Reinstein


Press Release

Bihar CM asked to "Halt construction on any asbestos plant in Bihar" by Linda Reinstein

Ban Asbestos Movement Gathers Momentum


Vaishali/Patna/New Delhi June 27, 2012: California based Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) has sent a letter to Bihar Chief Minister seeking stoppage of construction on asbestos-producing plant in Bihar on June 26, 2012.

In the attached letter, ADAO has asked Nitish Kumar "to consider the scientific and historical data regarding asbestos exposure when conducting your report on asbestos hazards related to dumping the material in a populous area."

The letter observes, "More than 30 years ago, the International Agency for Research on Cancer declared asbestos to be a human carcinogen. The World Health Organization (WHO) and International Labor Organization (ILO) agree: asbestos is a human carcinogen and there is no safe level of asbestos exposure. Decades of science have proven that all six types of asbestos fibers – chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite, and actinolite – are carcinogenic. The WHO states that 107,000 workers die annually from asbestos-related lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis."

It further underlines, "This lethal mineral has been banned in 55 countries, and in February of 2012 the court in Turin, Italy found former Eternit owners Stephan Schmideiny and Louis Cartier de Marchienne guilty of “causing a continuing disaster in health and environment” and “willfully neglecting safety regulations in the workplace,” exposing over 2,000 employees to the deadly fiber. The court sentenced them both to 16 years in prison and awarded millions of Euros to victims and their families."

Linda Reinstein, President, ADAO wrote, "Despite the industry’s disingenuous assertions, every form of asbestos - including chrysotile – is a proven human carcinogen. The nearly invisible asbestos fibers can be 700 times smaller than human hair, odorless, tasteless, and remain suspended in the air for seconds or days. Occupational exposure remains one of the greatest known sources of asbestos disease. But it’s not just workers who are at risk; it’s also their families. Asbestos fibers do not discriminate because of age, social class, or gender, and the profile of victims is changing from a male laborer to women in their 50s and children."

She added, "Asbestos-related diseases are frequently misdiagnosed because symptoms can be mistaken for pneumonia or bronchitis and victims are likely to present symptoms and complaints similar to many other common respiratory diseases. Coupled with a long latency period of typically 10-50 years, both malignant and nonmalignant diseases become under reported, and the challenges in treating asbestos-related diseases are only exacerbated. Most patients die within 6–12 months of diagnosis.

The notes that despite all that is known about the dangers of asbestos, annual world production remains at over 2 million tons. Russia is now the leading producer of asbestos worldwide, followed by China, Brazil, Kazakhstan, and Canada. In 2008, these countries accounted for 96% of the world production of asbestos (USGS 2008). A reported 43 percent of asbestos mined in Canada is exported to to India.

ADAO is an international, independent non-profit organization, founded in 2004 and is dedicated to providing education
about the dangerous of asbestos and eliminating asbestos disease through education and advocacy.

Earlier, on an appeal of ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), Dr Barry Castleman, a world renowned public health expert from California, USA and Medha Patkar of National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements (NAPM) wrote to the Government of Bihar supporting the struggle of villagers of Vaishali’s Chaksultan Rampur Rajdhari near Panapur in Kanhauli Dhanraj Panchayat of Goraul block under the banner of Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jan Sangarsh Committee [KBJBJC] against the proposed white asbestos plant of Kolkata based Utkal Asbestos Limited (UAL) company. They have demanded permanent closure of asbestos factories in Bihar. Their letters are also attached.

TWA which works on impact of hazardous industries on human health health and environment is supporting the struggle of KBJBJC along with all the left parties in Bihar including Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India (ML) Liberation, Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist), Forward Bloc, Jan Abhiyan, Bihar comprising of Janmukti Sangharsh Vahini, Janwadi Mazdoor Kisan Sabha, Communist Party of India (ML)-SR Bhaiji, Jan Pratirodh Manch, Janwadi Lok Manch, Communist Party of India (ML)-New Democracy, Sarwahara Jan Morcha, MCPI (U) and Communist Party of India (ML). These parties have issued also joint statements demanding closure of the asbestos factory and dismissal of fake cases against the villagers.

Rio+ 20 has come out with its final outcome document in Brazil that reads: “We call for the effective implementation and strengthening of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) as part of a robust, coherent, effective and efficient system for the sound management of chemicals throughout their life cycle including to respond to emerging challenges.”

TWA contends that Bihar Government does not have any strategic approach to chemicals management throughout their life cycle. The way State Investment Promotion Board has allowed hazardous factories like asbestos based plants demonstrates that despite lack of capacity to deal with even the existing asbestos laden buildings and end-of-life asbestos products is starkly myopic and is an invitation for public health disaster.

For Details: Linda Reinstein, President, Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), California, Phone: (310) 251-7477, Email: Web: www.AsbestosDiseaseAwareness.org

Ajit Kr Singh, Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jan Sangharsh Committee (KBJBJC), Vaishali, Mb: 08002903995, E-mail: ajeetsinghpushkar@gmail.com

Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), New Delhi Mb: 08002263335, 09818089660, E-mail:krishna1715@gmail.com, Phone: +91-11-26517814, Fax: +91-11-26517814 Web: toxicswatch.blogspot.com, banasbestosindia.blogspot.com

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Goa's grand old church to go green, shed asbestos

Note: Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) had written to Archaeological Survey of India of India to adopt a policy of ensuring that archaeological sites like Basilica of Bom Jesus are asbestos free.

Gopal Krishna
BANI


Goa's grand old church to go green, shed asbestos


Panaji: The Basilica of Bom Jesus, one of Goa's most revered churches, will soon have an eco-friendly roof -- thanks to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) which wanted visitors to the over 400-year-old building to have a "healthy" experience.

The massive asbestos roof on the imposing laterite stone building will be replaced by eco-friendly galvanised sheet.

The decision was taken on the recommendations of the ASI to ensure that tourists were not exposed to the risk of cancer due to exposure to asbestos, Savio Barretto of the Basilica of Bom Jesus said.

"Last year, the ASI had done the roof work and replaced a lot of older sheets with new asbestos sheets. But in a recent meeting, officials informed us that people were protesting against the move and demanding that modern galvanised sheets be put up on the Basilica roof. We agreed," Barretto said.

"We were informed that asbestos is not eco-friendly and according to studies it could cause diseases like cancer," he said.

Built in 1604 and located a short distance from the capital Panaji, the Basilica of Bom Jesus attracts thousands of tourists and devotees every year.

Until recently, the roof of the church was covered by clay Mangalore tiles.

A few decades ago, heavy maintenance costs forced the authorities to switch from tiles and rafters to asbestos to cover the 300 sq mt wide roof of the church.

The Basilica contains mortal remains of the Spanish saint St Francis Xavier who brought Christianity to the region. The Navarra-born saint is now the patron saint of Goa.

The Basilica is also recognised as a Unesco (United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation) world heritage site.

"We agreed to the idea of galvanised sheets because all such heritage buildings in the world have discarded asbestos as a building material. I believe that the modern material would be of great help as it is eco-friendly too," Barretto said.

IANS

http://zeenews.india.com/news/goa/goa-s-grand-old-church-to-go-green-shed-asbestos_782515.html

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Medha Patkar, Dr Barry Castleman Demand permanent closure of white asbestos factory


Press Release

Medha Patkar, Dr Barry Castleman Demand permanent closure of white asbestos factory

Dr Castleman warns Bihar Chief Minister against public health disaster

Vaishali villagers Get National and International Support for their struggle against Utkal’s white asbestos plant


Vaishali/Patna/New Delhi June 20, 2012: Medha Patkar of National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements (NAPM) and Dr Barry Castleman, a world renowned public health expert from California, USA have written to the Government of Bihar supporting the struggle of villagers of Vaishali’s Chaksultan Rampur Rajdhari near Panapur in Kanhauli Dhanraj Panchayat of Goraul block against the proposed white asbestos plant of Kolkata based Utkal Asbestos Limited (UAL) company. They have demanded permanent closure of asbestos factories in Bihar. Both Dr Castleman’s and NAPM’s letter are attached.

Dr Barry Castleman wrote to Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister, Bihar saying, “As you have learned by now, over 50 countries have banned the use ofall forms of asbestos because of unacceptable dangers to public health. Public reaction to the rampant growth of asbestos use in India has taken the form of Mahadharnas against the construction of new asbestos product factories. Opposition to asbestos use has closed down the asbestos mines in Canada and is on the verge of doing the same in Brazil. This will leave as the major asbestos mining countries only Russia, China, and Kazakhstan. Most of the world has followed the urgings of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the example of the World Bank to stop using asbestos in new construction. Use of asbestos in building homes and workplaces now leaves a legacy of lethal dangers for workers and building occupants for the rest of the century.” The pictures of Mahadharna are attached.

Medha Patkar wrote to Navin Kumar, Chief Secretary, “Apart from the grave health impacts of white asbestos, there are a number of serious violations by the Utkal Asbestos Limited plant that must be taken into account. It has been falsely shown in its Environment Impact Assessment maps, that barren land has been acquired, when in reality, it is agricultural land that has been used to set up the plant. They have also conveniently left out of their maps, the presence of numerous villages and schools in the area, in order to get clearance! There was no public hearing with the villagers of the area, as is mandatory before the environmental clearance is given. The Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jan Sangarsh Committee [KBJBJC] has been organizing locally against the asbestos plant, highlighting the adverse health impacts of the same.”

She further wrote, “It is important that the government of Bihar takes note of international as well as national resolutions passed against the use of asbestos and implement it effectively at the state level as well. Having said that, I acknowledge that the DM , Mr Jitendra Srivastav has taken prompt action in stopping work at the factory until further orders and has asked that a 15 member committee from amongst the villagers to engage with the administration. The fabricated charges against the peaceful protestors must be condemned and dropped immediately and action be taken against the factory owners and the administrative officials who were responsible for framing false charges against the villagers. I hope you will look into this matter at the earliest and take necessary action in order to ensure that the plant does not violate the rights of local villagers any further, and that social justice accrues.”

Dr Castleman wrote, “I am writing as a public health worker who has worked as a consultant on asbestos to the WHO and the World Bank, in addition to working with public health advocates in India, in hopes that you will side with the protesting villagers who do not want new factories producing asbestos products built in Bihar. This is enormously important in protecting public health and can serve as an example for the rest of India in reducing the impact of a public health disaster in coming decades.”

Both the letters of Medha Patkar and Dr Barry Castleman were translated in Hindi and discussed in Panapur, Vaishali on June 18 at a meeting of the villagers and members of KBJBJC.

ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) which works on impact of hazardous industries on human health health and environment is supporting the struggle of KBJBJC along with all the left parties in Bihar including Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India (ML) Liberation, Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist), Forward Bloc, Jan Abhiyan, Bihar comprising of Janmukti Sangharsh Vahini, Janwadi Mazdoor Kisan Sabha, Communist Party of India (ML)-SR Bhaiji, Jan Pratirodh Manch, Janwadi Lok Manch, Communist Party of India (ML)-New Democracy, Sarwahara Jan Morcha, MCPI (U) and Communist Party of India (ML). These parties have issued joint statements demanding closure of the asbestos factory and dismissal of fake cases agaisnt the villagers. TWA has issued an appeal to national and international leaders and experts requesting them to ask Bihar Govt to take immediate steps to prevent environmental and occupational exposure to asbestos' besides non-occupational exposures to asbestos by banning use and manufacturing of white asbestos based products.

TWA appeals to all the other opposition parties in the State like Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD), Lok Jansakti Party, Indian National Congress and Bihar Navnirman Manch to support the movement of the villagers of Vaishali and ensure that hazardous asbestos based plants are not allowed in Bihar. It will enhance State’s prestige and show their sensitivity towards grave issues of public health.

TWA feels that the continued silence of Dr. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Member of Parliament from Vaishali when his villagers protest against a hazardous plant is deafening and puzzling. Dr Singh, a former Union Rural Development Minister was resoundingly silent even during the villagers’ struggle against a similar asbestos plant in Muzaffarpur despite the fact that his partyman Abdul Bari Siddiqui, Leader of Opposition had raised the issue in the Bihar Vidhan Sabha.

In the meanwhile, Rio+ 20 has come out with its final outcome document in Brazil. Its relevant part reads: “We call for the effective implementation and strengthening of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) as part of a robust, coherent, effective and efficient system for the sound management of chemicals throughout their life cycle including to respond to emerging challenges.” TWA contends that Bihar Government does not have any strategic approach to chemicals management throughout their life cycle. The way State Investment Promotion Board has allowed hazardous factories like asbestos based plants demonstrates that despite lack of capacity to deal with even the existing asbestos laden buildings and end-of-life asbestos products is starkly myopic and is an invitation for public health disaster.

For Details: Ajit Kr Singh, Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jan Sangharsh Committee (KBJBJC), Vaishali, Mb: 08002903995, E-mail: ajeetsinghpushkar@gmail.com
Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), New Delhi Mb: 08002263335, 09818089660, E-mail:krishna1715@gmail.com Phone: +91-11-26517814, Fax: +91-11-26517814 Web: toxicswatch.blogspot.com, banasbestosindia.blogspot.com

DM orders immediate stay on Vaishali’s white asbestos plant




ToxicsWatch Alliance Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI)

Press Release

DM orders immediate stay on Vaishali’s white asbestos plant

Stage managed burning incident & fake police cases condemned by left parties

Vaishali/Patna/New Delhi June 19, 2012: Following protest of the villagers of Vaishali’s Chaksultan Rampur Rajdhari and their Mahadharana on June 14 against the proposed white asbestos based plant of Kolkata based Utkal Asbestos Limited (UAL) company, Jitendra Srivastava, District Magistrate (DM), Vaishali has ordered stay on the construction of white asbestos based factory till further orders. The protest has been going on for the last 2 years.

In a significant development, all the left parties in Bihar have jointly demanded permanent closure of the proposed white asbestos plant of UAL company in Chaksultan Rampur Rajdhari near Panapur in Kanhauli Dhanraj Panchayat of in Goraul block in Vaishali. The joint statement of Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India (ML) Liberation, Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) and Forward Bloc took cognisance of the protest against the lung cancer causing hazardous plant of Utkal Asbestos Limited (UAL) on June 14 in front of the factory gate under the banner of Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jan Sangharsh Committee (KBJBJC). The statement observed that the villagers had opposed the hazardous plant even at the time of Public Hearing. It took note of the usual collusion between the factory owners and the ruling political parties.

The statement condemned this act of company management and demanded that white asbestos plant should be closed in public interest keeping public health in mind, register case against the management of Utkal Asbestos company sought for hatching a conspiracy by burning its own factory premises and dismiss fake case registered by Utkal management.

Expressing support to the villagers protest against the asbestos factory, Jan Abhiyan, Bihar, a shared platform of democratic and revolutionary organisations too has issued a statement and endorsed the above demands. Jan Abhiyan comprises of Janmukti Sangharsh Vahini, Janwadi Mazdoor Kisan Sabha, Communist Party of India (ML)-SR Bhaiji, Jan Pratirodh Manch, Janwadi Lok Manch, Communist Party of India (ML)-New Democracy, Sarwahara Jan Morcha, MCPI (U) and Communist Party of India (ML). Both the statements were issued on June 15, 2012. ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) appreciates the support of the left parties for asbestos free India movement which is gathering momentum.

TWA observes that media persons of Bihar are under probe by a three member committee of the Press Council of India. Their balanced and objective reporting of the anti-asbestos movement can set a healthy precedent and redeem journalism’ higher standards.

It is noteworthy that DM held a Jan Adalat (Peoples Court) in the local Middle school to hear the testimonies and find out the reason for dispute between the villagers and the factory owner of the white asbestos company on June 16. He said that the legitimate demands of the villagers cannot be ignored. He heard the views of both the villagers and the factory officials. DM asked the villagers to form a team for negotiations with the factory management. He asked the factory management to present all its papers to him for scrutiny in the presence of local officials like Superintendent of Police, U K Sinha, DSP Pritesh Kumar, SDO Jyoti Kumar, DCLR, Nazar Hussain. The villagers protesting against this lung cancer causing hazardous plant under the banner of Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jan Sangarsh Committee (KBJBJC) said that factories are required but factories of death and disease are unacceptable. KBJBJC members and villagers were who gave testimonies included former Mukhiya, Govind Rai, retired teacher, Asheshar Sharma, Ajit Kumar Singh, Sunita Devi, and others. DM has promised to examine the matter till June 30, 2012. UAL company, was represented by its Vice Chairman, Ajay Kumar Chakravarty.

Meanwhile, the committee has received a letter on June 17 seeking names of the team members who will negotiate on behalf of the villagers. A copy of the letter is attached.

At a villagers meeting on June 18 in Panapur where TWA was also present, the KBJBJC condemned the conspiratorial acts of UAL which has filed concocted cases against 8 villagers including committee members and 200 unknown persons as part of company’s design to malign the anti-asbestos movement. There was police presence at the site of Mahadhrana who were informed prior to the program still local police official, Vinay Sharma has mechanically registered the cases. UAL managed had engineered a fire within its own factory premises when the Mahadharana was on in police presence. Even media reports revealed that the journalist could see through the design.

The attached pamphlet of KBJBJC refers to Union Government’s views against asbestos. "The Government of India is considering the ban on use of chrysotile asbestos in India to protect the workers and the general population against primary and secondary exposure to Chrysotile form of Asbestos." It has noted that "Asbestosis is yet another occupational disease of the Lungs which is on an increase under similar circumstances warranting concerted efforts of all stake holders to evolve strategies to curb this menace".

TWA was in formed by one ex-army person, Ram Agar Sharma who is in the business of supplying security guards that most of the guards he supplied to asbestos factories in Rajasthan like Ankit Roofings, Jaipur became diseased. Therefore, he refuses to provide guards to asbestos based factories.

TWA demands that state government should set up a special committee to examine the occupational health status of the migrant workers from Bihar who work in hazardous industries like asbestos based factories and provide medico-legal relief to them. The status of workers currently employed in asbestos based factories in Bihar also merit serious attention because their life is in grave danger.

TWA condemns the shady designs of the UAL company against the villagers to protect its hazardous plant at the cost of villagers’ health. TWA has appealed to national and international groups and experts to come forward in support of Vasihali villagers’ right to health struggle against hazardous asbestos based plant.

For Details: Ajit Kr Singh, Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jansangarsh Committee (KBJBJC), Vaishali, Mb: 08002903995
Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)-Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI), Mb: 08002263335, 09818089660, E-mail:krishna1715@gmail.com
Web: toxicswatch.blogspot.com, banasbestosindia.blogspot.com

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Goa's Basilica to become asbestos free

Note:Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) had written to Chief Secretary, Government of Goa on May 10, 2011 with copies to Director General, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and
Director (Conservation & World Heritage), ASI
asking for the removal of the asbestos roofing from UNESCO designated world heritage monument, the Basilica of Bom Jesus (meaning "Good Jesus") that was built in 1605. BANI had argued that UNESCO should announce a policy making it mandatory for all designated world heritage monuments to be asbestos free. ASI should announce that not only Goa's Basilica, all archaeological sites should be asbestos free.

Gopal Krishna
Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI)

Goa's Basilica to get back red clay tile roof

Daily News & Analysis (DNA)

The Basilica Bom Jesus at Velha in old Goa (world heritage village) will soon get back its original roof cladding. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in Goa will take up the removal of asbestos sheets and replace them with original Mangalorean tiles.

DNA had front-paged a story on the asbestos roof, which was posing a threat to Basilica’s heritage status in its edition dated May 10, 2011.

“Following that report, many things have happened. A team from ASI Delhi visited the spot and carried instructions from the director-general of ASI to take immediate steps to replace the asbestos sheets with original Mangalorean tiles. The work will begin soon,” said Dr Shivananda Rao, a senior official of ASI in Goa.

“We have ascertained that the original roofing was made of Mangalorean tiles when the Basilica was built in 1605. We have photographs of the old structure to guide us to complete the work of laying red-tiled roofing,” Rao said. “We will also replace the stones in front of the altar, which will bring the structure to its pristine glory,” he said.

The Basilica of Bom Jesus houses the mummified remains of Saint Francis Xavier, the founder of Society of Jesus, who died en route to continental China on December 2, 1552. The church was consecrated on May 15, 1605 (406 years ago) by archbishop Aleixo de Menezes. It was raised to the status of a Basilica by Pope Pius XII in 1946. In 1986, the Unesco declared it as a World Heritage Monument.

The asbestos roofing existed when Goa was liberated in 1961 and nobody knows why the Portuguese removed the Mangalorean tiles.

Published: Saturday, Jun 16, 2012, 11:57 IST
By M Raghuram | Place: Velha (old Goa) | Agency: DNA

http://www.dnaindia.com/bangalore/report_goas-basilica-to-get-back-red-clay-tile-roof_1702914

Protest Against Canada's pro-asbestos policy


EMC news - It's been a locally-based protest of a Canadian government policy. And while it continues, it is getting international attention.

It all began as a personal crusade by Rev. Michel Dubord of St. John's Anglican Church in Richmond, protesting the export of asbestos from Canada to developing countries. In April, Rev. Dubord held weekly one-hour silent protests at Memorial Park in Richmond, joined by several others as they stood beside a giant sign objecting to Canada's export of asbestos.

In May, Rev. Dubord brought his weekly one-hour silent protests to Village Square in Stittsville where the sign was set up to be viewed by motorists passing by on Stittsville Main Street and on Abbott Street. Rev. Dubord and his group of a handful of others were at the Village Square corner every Wednesday at 5 p.m. throughout May.

But last Wednesday, May 30, saw an international aspect develop as a reporter and photographer from Der Spiegel, a German weekly news magazine which has a circulation of over one million, visited the group, interviewing Rev. Dubord as the magazine is working on a story about Canada's export of asbestos.

The reporter is planning a trip to India as well as part of the story since India is one of the countries to which Canada exports asbestos.

The German reporter cannot understand why Canada continues to export asbestos, a cancer causing material, to countries such as India. In Germany, asbestos is no longer used, much like in Canada where asbestos is viewed as a cancer-causing material that is no longer used.

But federal government policy still allows for asbestos to be exported to other countries. It is this export of asbestos that Rev. Dubord and his supporters in this cause are opposed to.

Rev. Dubord is not giving up his protest. Indeed, he foresees continuing with the protests through to the winter and even beyond.

He is now taking his silent one-hour protest vigils to Kanata. Beginning this past Wednesday, June 6, and continuing this coming Wednesday, June 13, he and his protest sign will be at the corner of Castlefrank Road and Kakulu Road in Kanata, again at 5 p.m. After these two weeks at this location, he expects to continue the Wednesday protests at another Kanata location.

Rev. Dubord feels that the protests are making a difference, at least in increasing awareness of the situation and getting Canadians to ask questions. He likens the protest to throwing a pebble into the water and creating ripples. If the pebble is never thrown, the ripples will never happen. So, by having these protests, he is throwing a pebble into the waters of Canadian politics. Where any ripples will lead remains to be seen.

He is frustrated, as indeed the Der Spiegel reported has been, by the lack of Canadian government response to these concerns. Even the Der Spiegel reporter admitted that the Canadian government is being very silent on the whole issue, not responding to any inquiries.

Rev. Dubord is hopeful that the Anglican Church of Canada may soon be issuing a formal proclamation on the issue. He feels that if this happens, adherents of other faiths may also take up the challenge and start asking questions about Canada's policy about the export of asbestos to developing countries.

Rev. Dubord wants to get a conversation going among the public about why Canada is pursuing this policy of exporting asbestos, a known cancer causing material.

In Canada, asbestos use is not banned but because of its known health risks, Canadians simply do not use it. But despite the known health hazards, Canada exports thousands of tons of asbestos each year to countries like India, Thailand and Indonesia. Most of this Canadian asbestos is shopped overseas as loose fibre in bags. Workers in these countries then dump these bags of asbestos by hand, creating clouds of carcinogenic dust swirling around them.

The main question is that if a protect is considered dangerous for the Canadian population, why is it not considered dangerous for those in foreign countries like India.

Past governments have removed asbestos from the Parliament Buildings at considerable expense because of its hazardous tendencies. But the federal government still spends money to promote Canadian asbestos to overseas nations.

Rev. Dubord notes that exposure to asbestos in the countries to which Canada is exporting the substance will cause health problems, perhaps not today but certainly down the road as the asbestos fibres penetrate the lungs of its handlers and start causing respiratory and cancer problems and eventually a prolonged death.

He says that it makes a difference to protest Canada's policy allow the export of asbestos because it tells those whose health has been adversely affected that there are people who care.

Chrysotile asbestos is mined in Quebec and exported to developing countries with the support of the current Canadian government. Asbestos mining in Quebec represents the world's fourth largest production of chrysotile asbestos.

This export of asbestos to developing nations is being done despite the fact that the World Health Organization estimates that asbestos kills at least 90,000 people a year which is about half of all occupational cancer deaths. In Canada, strict occupational health and safety rules prevent the exposure of Canadian workers to such materials. Such rules are not prevalent in developing nations.

Asbestos ends up killing since it sheds tiny dust fibres continuously. Once inhaled, these fibres become tangled with lung tissues where they cause cancer, typically lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. These are killers.

The current Canadian government of the Conservatives supports the continuing mining and exporting of asbestos in Quebec. For more information about the export of asbestos from Canada, go to the website www.canadianasbestosexports.ca

http://www.emcstittsvillerichmond.ca/20120607/news/International+coverage+for+asbestos+protest

Ban Asbestos Movement Gets Support from Western Ghats, Karnataka

On Sun, Jun 17, 2012 at 12:08 PM, Shankar Sharma wrote:

To
Shri Navin Kumar,
Chief Secretary,
Government of Bihar, Patna, India

Cc
Shri Nitish Kumar,
Chief Minister,
Government of Bihar, Patna, India

Dated, 17th June 2012

Dear Mr. Navin Kumar,

Greetings from Western Ghats, Karnataka.

This has reference to the reports that a number of factories are
coming up in Bihar making it the hotspot of hazardous asbestos based
production. I am clearly aware of the potential for exposing the
people to cancer causing risks through such factories.

It is very unfortunate that whereas many countries in the world have
banned the usage of asbestos because of the certainty of the
associated health risks, an ancient civilisation of Bihar should be
burdened with such a hazardous activity.

In this regard I fully support the contents of the letter of date
16/6/2012 by Sri. Gopal Krishna,
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), New Delhi and urge the state government to
be the first in the country to ban the production and usage of
asbestos keeping in view the overall health of the communities.


Regards

Shankar Sharma
Power Policy Analyst
Mulubagilu, Doorvasapuram Post, Thirthahally
Shimoga District, Karnataka - 577432
Phone: 08181 203 703 & 94482 72503
shankar.sharma2005@gmail.com
shankar_sharma1955@hotmail.com

"I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power!
I hope we don't have to wait until oil and coal run out before we
tackle that." - Thomas Edison in conversation with Henry Ford, 1931

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sambalpur Villagers demand death instead of asbestos factory

Land loosers of Visaka Asbestos, Parmanpur village of Sambalpur District in Odisha, affected people have pleaded the President of India to grant death as the company has forcefully taken away their land and constructed the plant and started production.

The Visaka Asbestos Industries’ plant to manufacture 216,000 tons per annum of Asbestos Cement Sheets at Mouza: Paramanpur, Taluq: Maneswar, Dist:Sambalpur is fraught with disastrous consequences for the villagers of Odisha. Parmanpur Gram Surakshya Samiti has written to authorities informing them about their valid fears about incurable lung diseases.

Left Parties Demand Closure of White asbestos plant in public interest





Press Release

Left Parties Demand Closure of White asbestos plant in public interest

Registration of Case Against the Management of Utkal Asbestos Company Sought

Seek Dismissal of Fake Cases by Utkal Management


Patna/New Delhi: All the left parties have jointly demanded that closure of the proposed white asbestos plant of Utkal Asbestos Limited (UAL) company in Chaksultan Rampur Rajdhari near Panapur in Kanhauli Dhanraj Panchayat of in Goraul block in Vaishali. ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) welcomes the united stand of all the progressive parties against the killer asbestos factories.

The joint statement of Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India (ML) Liberation, Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) and Forward Bloc took cognisance of the protest against the lung cancer causing hazardous plant of Utkal Asbestos Limited (UAL) on June 14 in front of the factory gate under the banner of Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jan Sangharsh Committee (KBJBJC). The protest has been going on for the last 2 years.

The statement observed that the villagers had opposed the hazardous plant even at the time of Public Hearing. It took note of the usual collusion between the factory owners and the ruling political parties.

The statement underlined that local officials like DM, BDO and SDO besides the head of the government were informed prior to the June 14 Mahadharana in front of the factory gate. When thousands of men, women and children were siting in scorching sunlight from 8 AM onwards and speeches against the killer factory was being delivered. TWA was present at the site of the Mahadharana. The pictures are attached.

In the presence of the police, the villagers all of a sudden noticed that fire and smoke was getting airborne from the premises of the factory whose gates were locked. It is quite clear that the management of the company lit the fire in collusion with the local police and administration officials in order to frame the protesting villagers in fake cases to ensure that movement against the hazardous plant does not happen.

The statement condemned this act of company management and demanded:
1. White asbestos plant should be closed in public interest keeping public health in mind
2. Register case against the management of Utkal Asbestos company sought for hatching a conspiracy by burning its own factory premises
3. Dismiss fake case registered by Utkal Management

Expressing support to the villagers protest against the asbestos factory, Jan Abhiyan, Bihar, a shared platform of democratic and revolutionary organisations too has issued a statement and endorsed the above demands. Jan Abhiyan comprises of Janmukti Sangharsh Vahini, Janwadi Mazdoor Kisan Sabha, Communist Party of India (ML)-SR Bhaiji, Jan Pratirodh Manch, Janwadi Lok Manch, Communist Party of India (ML)-New Democracy, Sarwahara Jan Morcha, MCPI (U), Communist Party of India (ML).

TWA's letter to the Chief Secretary, Government of Bihar in this regard is attached.

TWA appreciates the support of the left parties for asbestos free India movement which is gathering momentum.

TWA urges media persons of the State to ensure that balanced and objective reporting of the movement sets a healthy precedent and saves the profession from ignominy.

TWA appeals to all the political parties and the environmental, social and human rights organisations to support the struggle of the villagers against the hazardous white asbestos plant to save the present and future generations from incurable lung diseases at time.

When more than 55 countries have banned asbestos and all the relevant UN's scientific and health organisations have called for the elimination of killer fibers of white asbestos, In this conflict between scientific truth and money power of the company in questions, the truth is with the villagers. State Government is defending the indefensible.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), Mb: 08002263335, 09818089660, E-mail:krishna1715@gmail.com Phone: +91-11-26517814, Fax: +91-11-26517814
Web: toxicswatch.blogspot.com, banasbestosindia.blogspot.com

Bury Asbestos, not People of Vaishali, Madhubani, West Champaran & Bhojpur

To

Hon’ble Chief Minister
Government of Bihar
Patna

Date: 16/6/2012

Subject- Bury Asbestos, not People of Vaishali, Madhubani, West Champaran & Bhojpur

Sir,

This is to draw your urgent attention towards the disturbing trend of Bihar becoming the hotspot of hazardous asbestos based production, exposing the people here to cancer causing risks.

I submit that the construction of lung cancer causing white asbestos plants in Vaishali, Madhubani, West Champaran and production in Bhojpur must be put on hold. These plants must be stopped in view of the global, national and movement against such plants which are referred to as Time Bombs for lungs.

I submit that some of the upcoming plants in Bihar are Kolkata based Utkal Asbestos Limited (UAL) Industries Ltd at Goraul, Vaishali, Rajasthan based A Infrastructure Ltd at Pandaul Industrial Area, Madhubani and Andhra Pradesh based Hyderabad Industries Ltd at Kumarbagh Industrial Area, West Champaran.

I submit that in the neighbouring West Bengal, the ruling party that awarded the ‘Environment Excellence Award’ to an asbestos company (Utkal Asbestos Company), lost people’s trust through its Singur and Nandigram like indefensible acts.

I submit that underlining the importance of NHRC’s notice, villagers of Vaishali’s Chaksultan Ramppur Rajdhari near Panapur in Kanhauli Dhanraj Panchayat of in Goraul block have decided to hold a Mahadharana against the proposed white asbetsos plant of Utkal Asbestos Limited (UAL) company in their village on June 14, 2012. Their pamphlet is attached. Villagers have been proesting against the fake public hearing and faulty environmental clearnce under the banner of Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jansangarsh Committee. They had organised a public meeting in this regard on May 1, 2012 as well wherein local officials were also present.

I submit that the promotion of asbestos continues despite the fact that alternatives to asbestos exist. The Central Building Research Institute (CBRI) for instance has developed roofing tiles and blocks using coir fibre and cement.

I wish to know the findings of the inquiry ordered by your Secretariat into the peoples’ demand for closure of the proposed asbestos plant at Muzaffarpur following a Citizens March in Patna. Your direction for inquiry revealed your sensitivity towards concerns raised by villagers.

I wish to inform you what Professor Elihu D Richter MD from the Hadassah School of Medicine of Hebrew University, Israel says about asbestos. He says: “All form of asbestos kill. India should bury asbestos, not people….India should not repeat the mistakes of going back some 70 years which will kill tens of thousands of workers and their families.”

I submit that asbestos was identified as a carcinogen way back in 1965. As a consequence fifty-five countries have already banned asbestos.

I submit that Rajasthan based A Infrastructure Ltd (AIL) has proposed Asbestos Cement Pressure pipes and sheets manufacturing Unit (Asbestos Cement Sheet 1,25,000 Tones Per Annum (TPA) and Asbestos Cement Pressure Pipe 1,00,000 TPA) at Pandaul Industrial Area under Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority (BIADA) at village Sagarpur, Tehsil Hati, district Madhubani. The project was given Environmental Clearance by the Union Environment & Forests Ministry on May 13, 2011 I without any public hearing. This plant should not be allowed because central government is sending out contradictory messages.

I submit that State Government should persuade the central government which does not favour new asbestos plants in the country in principle to translate its pious intention into practice. "The Government of India is considering the ban on use of chrysotile asbestos in India to protect the workers and the general population against primary and secondary exposure to Chrysotile form of Asbestos." It has noted that "Asbestosis is yet another occupational disease of the Lungs which is on an increase under similar circumstances warranting concerted efforts of all stake holders to evolve strategies to curb this menace". A concept paper by Union Ministry of Labour revealed this at the two-day 5th India-EU Joint Seminar on “Occupational Safety and Health” on 19-20th September, 2011.

(Reference: http://www.labour.nic.in/lc/Background%20note.pdf).

I submit that Union Railway Ministry has started procuring asbestos free products.

I submit that the Union Environment Ministry’s 19 page Vision Statement on Environment and Human Health (Para 4.3.1) on page 12 which reads: “Alternatives to asbestos may be used to the extent possible and use of asbestos may be phased out” merit serious consideration.

The same is available at moef.nic.in/divisions/cpoll/envhealth/visenvhealth.pdf.

I submit that Union Ministry of Mines has already technically banned asbestos mining in India.

I submit that the position of Union Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers at the UN meeting on Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade on June 22, 2011 revealed that India’s supports to inclusion of Chrysotile (white) asbestos in the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) list of hazardous chemicals. This was a major breakthrough. It ended the deadlock over the inclusion of Chrysotile in the PIC list. White asbestos has twice been recommended for inclusion by the Chemical Review Committee of the Convention. It was considered for the 3rd time by delegates to the 5th Conference of the Parties. Some 212 hazardous chemicals and pesticides have been notified in the list of banned or severely restricted chemicals. The white asbestos is all set to be formally included in the list.

I submit that you should not allow public interest to be undermined by a small minority more interested in defending the financial interests of a powerful asbestos industry rather than in protecting public health.

I submit that unmindful of these developments Hyderabad Industries Ltd (HIL) has proposed to set up a new Asbestos Corrugated sheets Unit of 250,000 TPA at Kumar Bagh Industrial Estate, (Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority (BIADA), Bettiah, West Champaran Dist in a project area of 37.89 Acres. These efforts of the asbestos companies must be stopped for the sake of the life and health of present and future generations

I submit that the production in the three plants of Chennai based Ramco Industries Ltd. at Industrial Area in Bihiya, Bhojpur and Chennai based Nibhi Industries Pvt. Ltd at Industrial Growth Centre, Giddha, Ara, Bhojpur also needs to be converted to non-asbestos based products. A high powered committee of occupational health and legal experts must examine the impact of asbestos exposure on the workers and the villagers who live in the vicinity of these plants.

I wish to draw your attention towards a statement from National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that has revealed that State government has failed to submit its report on asbestos related diseases. The statement dated June 5, 2012 is attached. NHRC had issued the notice to Chief Secretary, Bihar Government on July 6, 2011.

I submit that immediate steps are required to prevent environmental and occupational exposure to asbestos' besides non-occupational exposures to asbestos by banning use and manufacturing of white asbestos based products. It will set a healthy precedent for all the other states, the central government and neighboring countries. If a decision is taken ahead of Rio+20, United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development being held during June 20-22, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where a global political document is due to adopted by the Heads of States to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Earth Summit, it will enhance State’s prestige among the comity of nations.

I submit that the incurable diseases caused by white asbestos merit your attention. It is high time you intervened to stop any asbestos plant from being set up in the State because among other things it damages the reputation of the State by showing complete absence of scientific temper.

In this regard the Chief Secretary may be asked to submit his report on victims of Asbestos diseases to the NHRC at the earliest announce compensation package for present and future victims of these incurable lung diseases. The attached TWA’s paper on Status of Hazardous White Asbestos Factories in Bihar gives an overview of the situation. In this regard the attached New Delhi Declaration Seeking Elimination of all forms of Asbestos including White Asbestos from India that was issued by world’s renowned scientists, doctors and jurists in March 2011 also merit attention.

I earnestly appeal to you to pay heed to the recommendations of Kerala State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) in its order dated January 31, 2009. The recommendations are: a) The State Government will replace asbestos roofs of all school buildings under its control with country tiles in a phased manner. b) The Government will take steps to see that the schools run under the private management also replace the asbestos roofs with country tiles by fixing a time frame. c) The Government should see that in future no new school is allowed to commence its functions with asbestos roofs. These recommendations are relevant for Bihar as well. It underlines the need for banning use of asbestos roofs in the State. Bihar State Human Rights Commission (BSHRC) announced that the white asbestos plant that was under construction in Chainpur-Bishunpur village, Jakhra Sheikh Panchyat, Marwan block of Muzaffarpur has now been wound up. The File Note 45/11 Justice S N Jha Chairman, BSHRC.

I submit that asbestos producing countries like Canada, Russia, Kazakhstan, China and Brazil have are dumping their asbestos to user countries like India. Interestingly, Canada has a no home use policy. In India, asbestos mining is technically banned. Trade in asbestos waste (dust and fibers) is banned but the process of banning trade, manufacturing and use of white asbestos is held because of the corporate infleunce of the asbetsos companies over ruling parties.

In view of the above, it is evident that there are grave concerns about asbestos exposures resulting in public health crisis world over. This has compelled 55 countries to ban use of asbestos.

Therefore, given the fact that health is a State subject, it is up to you to choose to ensure that Bihar becomes the first State in India and South Asia to ban asbestos. This will enhance State’s prestige. It will be yet another act that will compel central government to emulate you and initiate concrete steps for national ban on trade, manufacturing and use of asbestos based products.

Let me take the opportunity to seek an appointment for a delegation comprising of doctors, scientists and eminent citizens.

Thanking You

Yours Faithfully

Gopal Krishna,
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA),
New Delhi
Mb: 08002263335, 09818089660
Phone: +91-11-26517814, Fax: +91-11-26517814
E-mail:krishna1715@gmail.com,
Web:toxicswatch.blogspot.com, banasbestosindia.blogspot.com

Cc

Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs
Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare
Union Minister of Environment & Forests
Union Commerce & Industry Minister
Union Finance Minister
Union Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers
Union Minister of Rural Development
Chief Secretary, Government of Bihar
Secretary, Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare
Secretary, Union Ministry of Environment & Forests
Secretary, Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry
Secretary, Union Ministry of Finance
Secretary, Union Ministry of Rural Development
Secretary, Union Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Breathing toxi-city

Ashpreet Sethi, New Delhi, Jun 13, 2012, DHNS :

Govt ignored NHRC notice on asbestos use: Experts

The Delhi government has not responded to a notice by the National Human Rights Commission on removing all asbestos sheets from across Delhi last year, alleged environmentalists.

Prolonged exposure to asbestos can cause severe health problems. White asbestos are fibrous material used for building roofs and walls, and they can cause lung cancer. Health experts have been raising concern over the use of this material since 2001.

Even the NHRC’s Annual Report of 2003-2004 refers to a report titled ‘Asbestos: An In-Depth Study’ submitted by the Institute of Public Health Engineers, underlining that safe and controlled use of asbestos is impossible.

The NHRC’s recommendations state that asbestos sheets should be replaced with harmless material. All structures in Delhi, ranging from schools to hospitals have asbestos sheets.

Notice issued last year

The NHRC had issued this notice to the chief secretary on July 6, 2011, while acting on a complaint by Toxic Watch Alliance (TWA). The NHRC statement dated June 5, 2012 highlighted that the department has not filed its report on asbestos exposure in Delhi.

“Most authorities at the Centre level as well as states and Union Territories have failed to give reports to the NHRC on safeguarding exposure to asbestos.”

‘Residents unsafe’

“It is sad that the Delhi government is acting like an ostrich and is waiting for the epidemic of incurable asbestos related diseases like lung cancer and ovarian cancer to be identified in great numbers,” said Gopal Krishna, activist with TWA.

“The department’s failure to submit the report shows that it has a callous attitude towards health issues. It is also under tremendous pressure from the white asbestos industry,” said Krishna.

Even the People’s Summit in Rio, Brazil, will organise a programme on ‘Deadly Business: Asbestos’ on June 15.

The invitation highlighted that the most vulnerable communities who use and work with asbestos are in India, where mostly women and children are exposed to the harm associated with this material.

Krishna said the Union environment ministry’s 19-page vision statement on health reads, “Alternatives to asbestos may be used to the extent possible and use of asbestos may be phased out.”

Railways lead by example

On the positive side, activists said the railway ministry has circulated an order within the department asking all divisional railway managers to replace white asbestos with aluminium sheets.

New Delhi railway station is the first area in Delhi that has decided to go asbestos free and prevent damage to public health.

“We have 16 platforms in New Delhi railway station, of which 13 have been replaced with aluminium sheets. The rest will be replaced soon,” said A K Sachan, New Delhi DRM.

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/256861/breathing-toxi-city.html

Vaishali villagers hold Mahadharana against white asbestos plant

To

Shri Navin Kumar
Chief Secretary
Government of Bihar
Patna

Date 15/6/2012

Subject- Vaishali villagers hold Mahadharana against white asbestos plant

Sir,

This is with reference to the Mahadarna of villagers of Vaishali’s Chaksultan Rampur Rajdhari near Panapur in Kanhauli Dhanraj Panchayat of in Goraul block held a Mahadharana against the proposed white asbestos plant of Utkal Asbestos Limited (UAL) company in their village on June 14. White asbestos also called chrysotile asbestos is banned in 55 countries.

On behalf of ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), I have visited the plant site. I wish to inform you that villagers have been protesting against this lung cancer causing hazardous plant under the banner of Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jan Sangarsh Committee (KBJBJC) for the last 2 years. Local officials like BDO and SDO informed the villagers about Shri Jitendra Srivastva, new DM’s assurance that the administration will examine the concerns of the villagers and would do the needful. The attached petition of the KBJBJC addressed to Deputy Chief Minister, DM and SDO was submitted to the offihttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifcials. The petition demands immediate stoppage of work at the UAL’s plant.

I submit that the role of local officials who overlooked the plant’s faulty Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report and misrepresented facts about the location of the plant merit an inquiry.

I wish to inform you that the setting up of the constitutes a case of human rights violation of villagers of Goraul Block due to threat of exposure from cancer causing fibers from the proposed asbestos plant. This was revealed at a 2-day conclave in New Delhi organised by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) during 24-24 February 2012. Some 150 participants from about 100 organisations across the country were informed that a fake public hearing was held in Vaishali on the basis of a 4 page EIA report. The 283 page complete EIA report which is ridden with falsehoods was never shared with the villagers. Although there is documentary evidence in the EIA report itself that the plant site is an agricultural land but it claims that it’s a barren land. There are several villages and schools in the vicinity but its maps do not show them.

I submit that the fake green clearance granted to Asbestos Fibre Cement Corrugated Sheets Manufacturing Plant (2,50,000 TPA) being set up by UAL Bihar (Utkal Asbestos Industries Ltd) for which asbestos fibers will be imported from countries like Canada and Russia.

I submit that although human biology of people of Muzaffarpur and Vaishali is the same, it is strange that the plant in the former district has been wound up but the same is being allowed to be set in the latter district.

I submit that State Government ought to take note of ten crucial national and international developments with regard to hazards from asbestos of all kinds including white asbestos with documentary proof:

1) Judgment of the Italian Criminal Court dated February 12, 2012 convicting owners of an asbestos company

2) Vision Statement on Environment and Human Health of Ministry of Environment & Forests

3) Notice of the National Human Rights Commission dated June 6, 2011 sent to Chief Secretary, Bihar Government

4) New Delhi Declaration Seeking Elimination of all forms of Asbestos including White Asbestos from India, March 2011

5) Government of India’s decision at UN’s 5th Conference of the Parties (COP5) to the UN’s Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade held in Geneva during June 20-24, 2011 wherein it agreed to the inclusion of chrysotile asbestos (white asbestos) in the list of hazardous chemicals paving the way for its ‘phase out’

6) Order of the Kerala Human Rights Commission dated January 31, 2009 on ‘asbestos roofs’,

7) Health Management Plan for Mesothalmia, Lung cancer and Asbestosis related problems in asbestos industries (Term of Reference of Experts Appraisal Committee, Industrial Projects),

8) Factsheet of World Health Organisation (WHO) and ILO Resolution

9) Union Ministry of Labour's Concept Paper on Plan to Ban Asbestos

10) NHRC Member's concern for use of carcinogenic asbestos roof by Union Rural Development Ministry in Indira Awas Yojna

I wish to draw your attention towards the dubious move of the UAL staffers who burnt their own premises in broad day light. It appears that it was done to accuse the peaceful villagers who were protesting there at the gate the factory about which prior information was given to the Police and the administration. This appears to be an attention diversion tactics. It has been done to trap villagers into concocted cases as part of company’s design to malign the movement of the KBJBJC.

I wish to share the attached pamphlet of KBJBJC that refers to Union Government’s views against asbestos. "The Government of India is considering the ban on use of chrysotile asbestos in India to protect the workers and the general population against primary and secondary exposure to Chrysotile form of Asbestos." It has noted that "Asbestosis is yet another occupational disease of the Lungs which is on an increase under similar circumstances warranting concerted efforts of all stake holders to evolve strategies to curb this menace". A concept paper by Union Ministry of Labour revealed this at the two-day 5th India-EU Joint Seminar on “Occupational Safety and Health” on 19-20th September, 2011.

(Reference: http://www.labour.nic.in/lc/Background%20note.pdf).

It also draws Bihar Government’s attention towards Union Environment Ministry’s 19 page Vision Statement on Environment and Human Health (Para 4.3.1) on page 12 which reads: “Alternatives to asbestos may be used to the extent possible and use of asbestos may be phased out”.

The same is available at moef.nic.in/divisions/cpoll/envhealth/visenvhealth.pdf.

The pamphlet referred to the resolutions of ILO and WHO which calls for the elimination of asbestos. It also referred to former Union Health Minister, Mrs Sushma Swaraj’s statement in the Parliament that exposure to asbestos fibers cause mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer on August 18, 2003. These are incurable diseases yet Bihar Govt is promoting it.

I wish to inform you that in India, mining of asbestos is technically banned but its import from other countries is yet to be banned. Trade in asbestos (dust & fibers) is also banned. Asbestos producing countries like Canada, Russia, Kazakhstan, China and Brazil are dumping their asbestos to user countries like India. Interestingly, Canada has a no home use policy. Trade, manufacturing and use of white asbestos is going on because of the corporate influence of the asbestos companies over ruling parties.

I submit that there are grave concerns about asbestos exposures resulting in public health crisis world over. In the absence of environmental and occupational health infrastructure, the passivity of the state governments cannot be deemed acceptable given the fact that health is a State subject.

I submit that one ex-army person Shri Ram Agar Singh who is in the business of supplying security guards observed at the Mahadharna that most of the guards he supplied to asbestos factories in Rajasthan became diseased.

I wish to request you to intervene at the earliest to frustrate the shady designs of the UAL company against the villagers to protect its hazardous plant at the cost of villagers’ health.

I wish to inform you that TWA supports the struggle of KBJBJC and appeals to Bihar Govt to take immediate steps to prevent environmental and occupational exposure to asbestos' besides non-occupational exposures to asbestos by banning use and manufacturing of white asbestos based products. It will set a healthy precedent for all the other states, the central government and neighboring countries. If a decision is taken ahead of Rio+20, United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development being held during June 20-22, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where a global political document is due to adopted by the Heads of States to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Earth Summit, it will enhance State’s prestige among the comity of nations.

In a related development, a statement from National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has revealed that Bihar government has failed to submit its report on asbestos related diseases. The statement dated June 5, 2012 is attached. NHRC had issued a notice to Chief Secretary, Bihar Government on July 6, 2011. The same is attached as well.

I submit that Union Railway Ministry has started procuring asbestos free products.

In the light of the above, TWA demands that State government should set up a special committee to examine the occupational health status of the migrant workers from Bihar who work in hazardous industries like asbestos based factories and provide medico-legal relief to them. The status of workers currently employed in asbestos based factories in Bihar also merit serious attention because their life is in grave danger.

Thanking You

Yours faithfully


Gopal Krishna

ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)

New Delhi

Mb: 08002263335, 09818089660,

E-mail:krishna1715@gmail.com

Phone: +91-11-26517814, Fax: +91-11-26517814

Web:toxicswatch.blogspot.com, banasbestosindia.blogspot.com

Cc

Shri Ravikant, Principal Secretary, Government of Bihar

Shri Binod Prasad Singh, Additional Secretary, Government of Bihar

Shri Vijay Kumar Verma, Joint Secretary, Government of Bihar

Shri Upendra Nath Pandey, Deputy Secretary, Government of Bihar

Shri Jitendra Srivastava, District Magistrate, Vaishali

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Villagers to Hold Mahadharana Against White Asbestos Plant on June 14 in Vaishali

Press Release

State Government Fails to Submit Report on Asbestos Fiber related diseases to NHRC

Villagers to Hold Mahadharana Against White Asbestos Plant on June 14 in Vaishali

Ban Use & Manufaturing of Silent Killer Fiber Based Products

Patna/New Delhi June 13, 2012: A statement from National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has revealed that State government has failed to submit its report on asbestos related diseases. The statement dated June 5, 2012 is attached. NHRC had issued the notice to Chief Secretary, Bihar Government on July 6, 2011. Meanwhile, Union Railway Ministry has started procuring asbestos free products.

ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) demands immediate steps to prevent environmental and occupational exposure to asbestos' besides non-occupational exposures to asbestos by banning use and manufacturing of white asbestos based products. It will set a healthy precedent for all the other states, the central government and neighboring countries. If a decision is taken ahead of Rio+20, United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development being held during June 20-22, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where a global political document is due to adopted by the Heads of States to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Earth Summit, it will enhance State’s prestige among the comity of nations. A program titled "Deadly Business – Asbestos: Are you the next victim?" is planned at People’s Summit at Rio on June 15, 2012.

A copy of the notice is attached. NHRC’s release in Hindi is attached as well. The English version is availble at http://nhrc.nic.in/dispArchive.asp?fno=2334

ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) demands that Chief Secretary ought to take cognizance of the incurable diseases caused by white asbestos. It is high time he intervened to stop any asbestos plant from being set up in the State because among other things it damages the reputation of the State by showing complete absence of scientific temper. Chief Secretary should submit its report on victims of Asbestos diseases to the NHRC at the earliest announce compensation package for present and future victims of these incurable lung diseases. The attached TWA’s paper on Status of Hazardous White Asbestos Factories in Bihar gives an overview of the situation.

Underlining the importance of NHRC’s notice, villagers of Vaishali’s Chaksultan Ramppur Rajdhari near Panapur in Kanhauli Dhanraj Panchayat of in Goraul block have decided to hold a Mahadharana against the proposed white asbetsos plant of Utkal Asbestos Limited (UAL) company in their village on June 14, 2012. Their pamphlet is attached. Villagers have been proesting against the fake public hearing and faulty environmental clearnce under the banner of Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jansangarsh Committee. They had organised a public meeting in this regard on May 1, 2012 as well wherein local officials were also present.

State Government should persuade the central government which does not favour new asbestos plants in the country in principle to translate its pious intention into practice. "The Government of India is considering the ban on use of chrysotile asbestos in India to protect the workers and the general population against primary and secondary exposure to Chrysotile form of Asbestos." It has noted that "Asbestosis is yet another occupational disease of the Lungs which is on an increase under similar circumstances warranting concerted efforts of all stake holders to evolve strategies to curb this menace". A concept paper by Union Ministry of Labour revealed this at the two-day 5th India-EU Joint Seminar on “Occupational Safety and Health” on 19-20th September, 2011. (Reference: http://www.labour.nic.in/lc/Background%20note.pdf).

In this regard the attached New Delhi Declaration Seeking Elimination of all forms of Asbestos including White Asbestos from India that was issued by world’s renowned scientists, doctors and jurists in March 2011 also merit attention.

TWA appeals to the Bihar Government to pay heed to the recommendations of Kerala State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) in its order dated January 31, 2009. The recommendations are: a) The State Government will replace asbestos roofs of all school buildings under its control with country tiles in a phased manner. b) The Government will take steps to see that the schools run under the private management also replace the asbestos roofs with country tiles by fixing a time frame. c) The Government should see that in future no new school is allowed to commence its functions with asbestos roofs. These recommendations are relevant for Bihar as well. It underlines the need for banning use of asbestos roofs in the State.

In a related development, Bihar State Human Rights Commission (BSHRC) announced that the white asbestos plant that was under construction in Chainpur-Bishunpur village, Jakhra Sheikh Panchyat, Marwan block of Muzaffarpur has been wound up. The relevant File Note 45/11 Justice S N Jha Chairman, BSHRC is attached.

Bihar Government should take note of the Union Environment Ministry’s 19 page Vision Statement on Environment and Human Health (Para 4.3.1) on page 12 which reads: “Alternatives to asbestos may be used to the extent possible and use of asbestos may be phased out”. The same is available at moef.nic.in/divisions/cpoll/envhealth/visenvhealth.pdf.

Asbestos producing countries like Canada, Russia, Kazakhstan, China and Brazil have are dumping their asbestos to user countries like India. Interestingly, Canada has a no home use policy. In India, asbestos mining is technically banned. Trade in asbestos waste (dust and fibers) is banned but the process of banning trade, manufacturing and use of white asbestos is held because of the corporate infleunce of the asbetsos companies over ruling parties.

There are grave concerns about asbestos exposures resulting in public health crisis world over. This has compelled 55 countries to ban use of asbestos. In the absence of environmental and occupational health infrastructure, the passivity of the state governments cannot be deemed acceptable given the fact that health is a State subject.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), Mb: 08002263335, 09818089660, E-mail:krishna1715@gmail.com Web:toxicswatch.blogspot.com, banasbestosindia.blogspot.com

Monday, June 11, 2012

Letter to Quebec Premier Seeking End to Govt Support for Asbestos Industry

Montreal, June 11, 2012

The Honorable Jean Charest, M.N.A.
Premier of Québec
Édifice Honoré-Mercier, 3rd Floor
835 René-Lévesque Blvd. E.
Québec, QC G1A 1B4

Dear Premier Charest:

As the world prepares for Rio+20, we renew our call for you to end government support for the asbestos industry and refuse the loan guarantee that would allow Jeffrey Mine to reopen.
Rio+20 will mark the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the “Earth Summit”). With a green economy theme, the conference is announced as an historic opportunity to define pathways to a safer, more equitable, cleaner, greener and more prosperous world for all.

The United Nations Environment Program defines green economy as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. Promoting the mining and export of Quebec asbestos – a known human carcinogen – is inconsistent with a green economy and sustainable development goals.
You played a leadership role at the 1992 Earth Summit as Canada’s environment minister. Now, on the occasion of Rio+20, we appeal to you to concretely demonstrate your continued commitment to a green economy by ending government support for the deadly asbestos trade.

We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Wayne Peppard, Business Representative Allied Hydro Council of British Columbia
Linda Reinstein, CEO and Co-founder, Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization
Tracy Ford, Co-founder, Asbestos-related Research, Education and Advocacy Fund
Anthony Whitston, Chair Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum (U.K.)
Eric Jonckheere, Co-president Association belge des victimes de l'amiante (Belgium)
Dr. Yv Bonnier Viger, President
Association des médecins spécialistes en santé communautaire du Québec
Marc Hindry, Board Member Association nationale de défense des victimes de l'amiante (France)
Dr. Najwa Bourawi, President Association pour la protection de l'environnement et le développement durable de Bizerte (Tunisia)
Lucie Thibodeau, President Association pour la santé publique du Québec
Gopal Krishna, Convener Ban Asbestos Network of India - Toxics Watch Alliance (India)
Dr. Helen Clayson, Chair Barrow Asbestos-Related Disease Support (U.K.)
Eliezer João de Souza
Brazilian Asbestos Exposed People Association (Brazil)
Rosanne Cohen, Executive Director Breast Cancer Action Montreal
Tom Sigurdson, Executive Director
British Columbia and Yukon Territory Building and Construction Trades Council
Dr. Éric Notebaert, Board Member Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
Suzanne Dubois, Director General Canadian Cancer Society - Quebec Division
Fe de Leon, Researcher
Canadian Environmental Law Association
Debra Lynkowski, CEO Canadian Public Health Association
Sheryl Thompson, CEO Canadian Society of Asbestos Victims
Stacy Cattran, Co-founder Canadian Voices of Asbestos Victims
Madhumita Dutta, Coordinator Corporate Accountability Desk - The Other Media (India)
Karel Mayrand, Director General for Québec David Suzuki Foundation
Emmanuel Odjam-Akumatey, Executive Director Ecological Restorations (Ghana)
Kaitlyn Mitchell, Lawyer
Ecojustice
Bruce Cox, Executive Director Greenpeace
Lee Loftus, Business Manager
International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers - Local 118
Laurie Kazan-Allen, Coordinator International Ban Asbestos Secretariat
John Flanagan, Information Officer Merseyside Asbestos Victim Support Group (U.K.)
Jamie Kneen, Co-Manager Mining Watch
Christian Simard, Director General Nature Québec
María Elena Rozas
Pesticide Action Network Chile (Chile)
Javier Souza, Coordinator Pesticide Action Network Latin America (Argentina)
Diana Daghofer, Co-Chair Prevent Cancer Now
Dr. Jean Zigby, President of the Environment and Health Committee
Quebec College of Family Physicians
Dr. Ruth Vander Stelt, President Quebec Medical Association
Kathleen Ruff, Founder and Director RightOnCanada.ca
Howard Willems, Chairperson Saskatchewan Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization
Kathy Burns, Director Science Corps (U.S.A.)
Dr. Mahmood A. Khwaja, Senior Advisor Sustainable Development Policy Institute (Pakistan)
Fernanda Giannasi, Coordinator Virtual Citizen Network for the Banishment of Asbestos in Latin America

Saturday, June 9, 2012

NHRC Seeks Reports on Asbestos Exposure from Centre & States

Press Statement

NHRC Seeks Reports on Asbestos Exposure from Centre & States

Rio 2012 People's Summit to hold program on Deadly Business of Asbestos Industry


New Delhi, June 10, 2012: Acting on a compliant filed by ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), in a June release, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has underlined that most of the authorities at Centre and States/Union Territories have failed to give reports to the NHRC on safeguarding exposure to white asbestos or chrysoyile asbestos. Taking note of this omission, the NHRC had ordered for issuing reminders, returnable in six weeks, to the Chief Secretaries of all States/Union Territories and other concerned authorities at Centre who have failed to submit requisite reports on May 21, 2012.

Earlier, on the 5th March, 2012, NHRC had given six weeks more time when most of them failed to give the requisite reports. A copy of the June 5, 2012 release of NHRC and its original notice of July 6, 2011 is attached. Such callous approach of the governments in India merit criticism

TWA has sought Commission's intervention for a ban on the use of chrysotile asbestos (white asbestos), which is hazardous for the health of people and causes various incurable diseases. The white asbestos is a fibrous material used for building roofs and walls and various in other forms.

Notably, People’s Summit, Rio 2012 is organsing a program on "Deadly Business – Asbestos: Are you the next victim?" on 15 June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in the backdrop of epidemic of asbestos related diseases. The invitation letter from the Brazilian organisers of this meeting reads: "Chrysotile Asbestos is a global killer, with over 100,000 occupational death annually." More than 50 countries no longer produce nor use Asbestos, a deadly killer. It refers to "the most vulnerable communities who use and work with asbestos, in India including women and children."

TWA expresses its deep sense of dismay at the failure of central and state governments to submit requisite reports to the NHRC to facilitate remedial measures for the past, present and future victims. The States of Mizoram, Nagaland and the National Institute of Occupational Health Ahmedabad have submitted their reports. These reports should be examined at the earliest for relevant recommendations.

While "Government of India is considering the ban on use of chrysotile asbestos in India to protect the workers and the general population against primary and secondary exposure to Chrysotile form of Asbestos," its indifference towards NHRC's notice is surprising. It has noted that "Asbestosis is yet another occupational disease of the Lungs which is on an increase under similar circumstances warranting concerted efforts of all stake holders to evolve strategies to curb this menace". A concept paper by Union Ministry of Labour revealed this at the two-day 5th India-EU Joint Seminar on “Occupational Safety and Health” on 19th and 20th September, 2011. Reference: http://www.labour.nic.in/lc/Background%20note.pdf

NHRC, while seeking their responses, had particularly drawn their attention the Supreme Court directions with regard to Para 16 of the Writ Petition, which are as follows: a) Ministry of Labour in the Union of India and Department of Industries and Labour in all the State Government shall ensure that the directions contained in the judgment of this Court in the case of Consumer Education and Research Centre (supra) are strictly adhered to; b) In terms of the above judgment of this Court as well as reasons stated in this judgment, we hereby direct the Union of India and the States to review safeguards in relation to primary as well as secondary exposure to asbestos keeping in mind the information supplied by the respective States in furtherance to the earlier judgment as well as fresh resolution passed by the ILO.

The Commission had taken cognizance of TWA's complaint in June, 2011 wherein it estimated that about fifty thousand people die every year in the country due to asbestos related cancer. Citing contradictory position of the Government on the issue, the complainant had alleged that though the mining of asbestos was technically banned by the government, yet it allowed its import and that too from the countries which did not prefer its domestic use. It was also alleged that white asbestos is considered a hazardous chemical substance for environment by a number of countries in the world. However, it is being used in a number of industries in India affecting the workers employed their in. The Commission had given six months time for reports to the concerned authorities.

TWA has pointed out that Union Environment Ministry’s 19 page Vision Statement on Environment and Human Health (Para 4.3.1) on page 12 which reads: “Alternatives to asbestos may be used to the extent possible and use of asbestos may be phased out”. Reference: Environment Ministry’s website: moef.nic.in/divisions/cpoll/envhealth/visenvhealth.pdf.

It is noteworthy that Justice N Dhinakar, the Kerala State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) has made three recommendations banning use of asbestos roofs in its order dated January 31, 2009. The recommendations are: “

a) The State Government will replace asbestos roofs of all school buildings under its control with country tiles in a phased manner.
b) The Government will take steps to see that the schools run under the private management also replace the asbestos roofs with country tiles by fixing a time frame.
c) The Government should see that in future no new school is allowed to commence its functions with asbestos roofs.”

All State Human Rights Commissions can initiate steps to make their states asbestos free by taking cognisance of the above facts.

Given the hazardous nature of the killer fibers of asbestos, states and citizens should boycott all asbestos based products. TWA appeals to the centre and the states to respond to NHRC's notice at the earliest in the interest of public health of present and future generations because safe and controlled use of all kinds of asbestos is impossible.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), Mb: 08002263335, 09818089660, E-mail:krishna1715@gmail.com, Web:toxicswatch.blogspot.com

Most of the authorities at Centre and States/UTs fail to give reports to the NHRC on safeguarding exposure to asbestos

New Delhi, June 5th, 2012 Most of the authorities in Centre and Sates/Union Territories have failed to submit requisite reports to the NHRC on safeguards they have put in place relating to exposure to asbestos. Only the States of Mizoram, Nagaland and the National Institute of Occupational Health Ahmedabad have submitted the reports. Therefore, the Commission on the 21st May, 2012 ordered for issuing reminders, returnable in six weeks, to the Chief Secretaries of all States/Union Territories and other concerned authorities at Centre who have failed to submit requisite reports. The Commission had asked them to share with it the information on the action taken by them with regard to the Supreme Court judgment dated the 21st January, 2011 in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 260 of 2004 on exposure to asbestos. The Commission, while seeking their responses, had particularly drawn their attention the Supreme Court directions with regard to Para 16 of the Writ Petition, which are as follows: a) Ministry of Labour in the Union of India and Department of Industries and Labour in all the State Government shall ensure that the directions contained in the judgment of this Court in the case of Consumer Education and Research Centre (supra) are strictly adhered to; b) In terms of the above judgment of this Court as well as reasons stated in this judgment, we hereby direct the Union of India and the States to review safeguards in relation to primary as well as secondary exposure to asbestos keeping in mind the information supplied by the respective States in furtherance to the earlier judgment as well as fresh resolution passed by the ILO. The Commission had taken cognizance of a complaint in July, 2011 alleging that about fifty thousand people die every year in the country due to asbestos related cancer. The complainant had sought Commission's intervention for a ban on the use of chrysotile asbestos (white asbestos), which is hazardous for the health of people and causes various incurable diseases. The white asbestos is a fibrous material used for building roofs and walls and various in other forms. Citing contradictory position of the Government on the issue the complainant had alleged that though the mining of asbestos was technically banned by the government, yet it allowed its import and that too from the countries which did not prefer its domestic use. It was also alleged that white asbestos is considered a hazardous chemical substance for environment by a number of countries in the world. However, it is being used in a number of industries in India affecting the workers employed their in. The Commission had given six months time for reports to the concerned authorities. On the 5th March, 2012, they were given six weeks more time when most of them failed to give the requisite reports.

Note: For further details kindly contact National Human Rights Commission, Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi, PIN 110001 Tel.No. 23382742 Fax No. 23384863 E-Mail: covdnhrc@nic.in, ionhrc@nic.in



NHRC issues notices to different Union Ministries, States, Union Territories on the issue of banning use of White Asbestos

Dated: 6th July 2011 The National Human Rights Commission has taken cognizance of a complaint alleging that about fifty thousand people die every year in the country due to Asbestos related cancer. The complainant has sought Commission's intervention for a ban on the use of Chrysotile Asbestos (White Asbestos), which is hazardous for the health of people and causes various incurable diseases. The white Asbestos is a fibrous material used for building roofs and walls and various in other forms. Citing contradictory position of the Government on the issue the complainant Gopal Krishna of Toxics Watch Alliance has alleged that though the mining of Asbestos has been technically banned by the government, but it allows its import and that too from the countries which do not prefer its domestic use. It is also alleged that white Asbestos is considered a hazardous chemical substance for environment by a number of countries in the world. However, it is being used in a number of industries in India affecting the workers employed their in. The complainant has also requested for grant of a compensation package for present and future victims of Asbestos diseases. The Commission has issued notices to the Secretaries of Ministries of Chemical Fertilizers, Environment and Forest, Health and Family Welfare, Industry and Commerce, Labour and Chief Secretaries of all the States/Union Territories calling for status reports within four weeks on the issues raised in the complaint. *********
Note: For further details kindly contact National Human Rights Commission, Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi, PIN 110001 Tel.No. 23382742 Fax No. 23384863 E-Mail: covdnhrc@nic.in, ionhrc@nic.in

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

RIO + 20 : WORKSHOP "A WORLD WITHOUT ASBESTOS IS POSSIBLE"

Date: 15/6/2012 Where: Aterro do Flamengo - Tent 1 - organizers: FIOCRUZ/CEBES/ABRASCO Time: 13-18:00 Tentative List of Speakers: Linda Reinstein - USA - A utilização das redes e mídias sociais para a luta global anti -amianto Laurie Kazan Allen - Reino Unido - panorama internacional da luta anti-amianto Olga Speranskaya - O amianto na Russia Alexandra Caterbow- WECF - Convençāo de Rotterdam e a inclusāo da Crisotila para PIC Fernanda Giannasi - A luta anti-amianto no Brasil Hermano Castro e Patrícia Ribeiro - Panorama epidemiológico no Brasil e no Mundo. A luta- anti-amianto nos tribunais Depoimento das lutas vítimas do amianto (RJ,SP,PR e BA) Fórum de Bom Jesus da Serra - moradores

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