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 (NHRC) 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.
Gopal Krishna, Convener, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), Mb: 9818089660,
Note: Earlier, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) has sought appropriate directions to all the States/UTs and the Central Government with regard to the following:
I) How many industries/factories exist in the State where asbestos is used. Is there an inventory of products wherein the said material is used?
II) Total number of workers in the said industry?
III) Whether there is regular medical check-up and whether medical facilities exist?
IV) Whether there is any record of persons who died because of asbestosis?
V) How many persons suffer from asbestosis and whether they are receiving regular treatment for the said disease?
VI) What steps States/UTs has taken to check/prevent occurrence of asbestosis and how many hospitals dealing with the occupational diseases exist in the State/UT.
VII) What measures have been taken to decontaminate the existing buildings and products from the asbestos fibers
VIII) How many institutions in the country have the competence to decontaminate asbestos and how many medical, occupational health and scientific institutions can diagnose asbestos exposure
IX) How do our armed forces deal with cases of asbestos exposure? Is there a record of soldiers who have suffered from asbestos related diseases
X) What action has been taken by the central government and the state governments to protect children from asbestos exposure in future?
The applications seek necessary directions for its prevention and appropriate remedial steps are suggested/recommended and suitable directions are issued to the Central Government/State Governments and UTs.