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.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

We Must Not Forget the Residents of Asbestos, September 17, 2012

The town of Asbestos has been a single industry asbestos-mining town for over a century. Some efforts at economic diversification have been made in the past, but sadly have failed. It is an economically and psychologically depressed area, with its population having shrunk, house prices dropped and local businesses, like restaurants, having closed down. The town is afraid that it will become a ghost town, as has the town of Cassiar in British Columbia, which was also a single industry asbestos-mining town. The people of Asbestos do not believe that there will be successful economic diversification of the town.

The health defenders in Quebec and elsewhere (for example, the Canadian Cancer Society, the trade union movement and the Position Statement on Asbestos of the Joint Policy Committee of the Societies of Epidemiology), who have called for an end to asbestos mining, have also always called for just transition assistance to be provided to the asbestos mining region. However, the residents of Asbestos believe that these are just nice but empty words and that the town will die if asbestos mining ends. This is the background situation and it is important to be aware of it. No-one should be indifferent to their plight, which is a real one.

Let us hope that, with the support and financing of the Quebec and Canadian governments, there will be a successful transition to sustainable, healthy economic development in the area, so that the town will not only survive but thrive.

Kathleen Ruff, founder
Letter: Residents of Asbestos have gone from hope to despair

Letter, Montreal Gazette September 17, 2012

Those who doubted that there would be any changes following our Sept. 4 provincial election results have been proved wrong. Case in point, asbestos.

On June 29, he Charest government promised a $58-million loan to Jeffery Mine to keep that asbestos mine in operation. On Aug. 29, candidate Pauline Marois, promised, if elected, to cancel the loan and set up public hearings to examine the future for the town of Asbestos, where Jeffery is located. On Sept. 14, a few days before Marois is to assume the premiership of Quebec, federal Industry Minister Christian Paradis announced that Canada will no longer oppose asbestos being placed on a hazardous material list, thereby ending our country’s support for that industry, and effectively dealing a death blow to Mine Jeffery Inc.

Did Marois cause Canada to abruptly change its position on asbestos? Or, did Canada take advantage of Marois’s position to conveniently withdraw from our country’s unpopular support of the asbestos industry?

Whatever the answers are, within less than two months, the residents of Asbestos have gone from hope to despair, environmentalists, opposing our promotion of the asbestos industry, have gone from repeated failure to immediate success, and Marois, even before her being sworn in, has achieved apparent success but may be ultimately blamed for the Ottawa decision.

That is change.

Robert Marcogliese


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