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.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Kudos to Government of Thailand’s efforts to ban asbestos


Ms Yingluck Shinawatra
Prime Minister
Government of Thailand

Through Mr Pisan Manawapat Government of Thailand’s Ambassador to India

Date: July 27, 2012

Subject- Kudos to Government of Thailand’s efforts to ban asbestos


This is with reference to news report ‘Thailand’s move to ban asbestos leaves Quebec looking foolish’ (National Post, Christopher Nardi, July 26, 2012), we wish to express our deep sense of appreciation for initiating efforts to ban chrysotile asbestos (white asbestos) imports in the coming months.

We have noted that in January 2011, Thailand’s National Economic and Social Advisory Council recommended banning imports and sales of asbestos in Thailand due to its link to health problems, including cancer.

We welcome the resolution adopted in February 2011 by Thai authorities to ban it. It is indeed quite significant that the resolution was proposed by the National Health Commission of Thailand, chaired by you.

We have observed how your government has debunked misplaced claims about safe and controlled use of asbestos like more than 55 countries. There is no sanity in adopting Ostrich policy in eth face of the resolution passed by World Health Organization, International Labour Organisation World Federation of Public Health Associations, the International Commission on Occupational Health and even the World Bank Group seeking elimination for future use of asbestos of all kinds including chrysotile to prevent preventable diseases and deaths of innocent workers, consumers and citizens from the killer fibers of asbestos.

We congratulate you for joining the anti-asbestos movement which is critical of countries like Canada and Russia who “export cancer”. Your government’s initiative reveals the immorality of Quebec government’s investment in Jeffrey asbestos Mine.

We wish to inform you that your action set an example for Government of India to follow which is also “considering the ban on use of chrysotile asbestos in India to protect workers and the general population against primary and secondary exposure," a concept paper of September 2011 by the Indian Ministry of Labour. Besides even Indian Environment & Forests Ministry s Vision Statement on Environment and Human Health recommends, "Alternatives to asbestos may be used to the extent possible and use of asbestos may be phased out" and the Ministry of Chemicals has disassociate India from countries like Russia and Canada who derailed the international consensus thatcould have categorised chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous substance.

We wish to state that you are on the right path. In India, the Union Budget 2011-12 made an implied critical reference to asbestos by including it under Health Ministry s National Health Insurance Plan (Rashtriya Swasthya Birna Yojana) to cover the 'unorganised sector workers in hazardous mining and associated industries like asbestos etc.

In light of the above, your sensitivity towards public health and action to address the environmental and occupational health crisis due to asbestos based hazardous industries is praiseworthy and worthy of emulation by ASEAN countries and Asian countries like India. Environmental and public health groups eagerly await the formal announcement of ban on the carcinogenic fibers. You have demonstrated that your government holds public interest rather than corporate interest dear to its heart.

Thanking You

Yours Sincerely
Gopal Krishna
Ban Asbestos India
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)

Foreign Office, The Government Public Relations Department, Office of the Prime Minister

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