Make India Asbestos Free

Make India Asbestos Free
For Asbestos Free India

Journal of Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI). Asbestos Free India campaign of BANI is inspired by trade union movement and right to health campaign. BANI has been working since 2000. It works with peoples movements, doctors, researchers and activists besides trade unions, human rights, environmental, consumer and public health groups. BANI demands criminal liability for companies and medico-legal remedy for victims.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Supreme Court asks central govt to regulate asbestos activities

Concerned at the cancerous effect asbestos has on human health, the Supreme Court (SC) has directed the Centre to consider setting up a body to regulate manufacture of the fiber-based material.

Refraining from treading the path of legislature, which is already seized of a bill seeking ban on asbestos, the court said the regulatory body must be considerate to the health of workmen involved in mining or manufacturing asbestos.

Acting under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the authorities should ensure all “appropriate and protective steps to meet specified standards are taken by the industry before or at the time of issuance of environmental clearance”.

A bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia has refused to ban asbestos, but it feels that it’s imperative to issue the directions in order to “strike a balance between health hazards posed by this activity and the ground reality that a large number of families all over the country are dependent for livelihood on it”.

White asbestos is highly carcinogenic. Countries, mainly Canada and Russia, which export it to India without restriction prefer not to use it domestically. In 2007, Canada exported almost 90% of white asbestos it mined, 43% of it to India.

US-based Drexel University professor and chair of department of environmental and occupational health Arthur Frank warns, “We can expect a lot more death and disease in India. There is no champion for elimination or reduction in use of asbestos.”

Published: Monday, Jan 24, 2011, 0:13 IST
By Rakesh Bhatnagar | Place: New Delhi

Note: The bench comprising Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia, Justice Panicker Radhakrishnan and Justice Swatanter Kumar has further directed “we direct that if Union of India considers it proper and in public interest, after consulting the States where there are large number of asbestos industries in existence, it should constitute a regulatory body to exercise proper control and supervision over manufacturing of asbestos activities while ensuring due regard to the aspect of health care of the workmen involved in such activity. It may even constitute a Committee of such experts as it may deem appropriate to effectively prevent and control its hazardous effects on the health of the workmen”.

1 comment:

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