Australian Government’s uranium export criticized, call for ban on asbestos trade appreciated
New Delhi: Australian Government’s and Australian Labourt Party’s move to export uranium to India is akin to approval of boiling water with nuclear energy. Occupational Health India (OHI) and ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) condemn this hypocritical act of Australia. Australia has banned nuclear power generation at home although it holds 40 percent of the world's known uranium reserves.
What is bad and harmful for Australian citizens is bad and harmful for Indian citizens because human biology is the same everywhere.
Disregarding lessons from inevitable and unpredictable disasters like Cheronbyl and Fukushima and path of sanity shown by at least four key women political leaders namely- Ms Micheline Calmy-Rey, President of Switzerland, Dr Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, Ms Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal, Dr. J. Jayalalitha, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu- who have abandoned the nuclear energy path, this move of the government of Australia and the ruling party is an irresponsible exercise in double standard. Within the Australian party, this motion was passed by a vote of 206 to 185 reveals bitter domestic opposition as well.
Even as India continues to expand the manufacturing, use and trade of asbestos, Australian Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd’s call for a global ban on asbestos, Australian Labor Party wanted Australia to lead the efforts for shutting down the hazardous asbestos industry for good. Occupational Health India (OHI) and ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) welcome this move in Australia and urges Government of India to adopt a similar policy to make India asbestos free.
Continued use of the lung cancer-causing mineral is a cause of huge rise in unacknowledged deaths and diseases in India. Rudd moved an amendment to Labor Party policy in response to ongoing ban asbestos struggle for an asbestos-free world. This decision was guided by the death of asbestos victims. Asbestos industry is growing in both China and India due to increase in the consumption of asbestos cement building products. Unmindful of the fact that 55 countries have banned asbestos of all kinds including chrysotile asbestos (white asbestos), Indian Government has adopted an Ostrich policy in the face of diseases and deaths from asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.
As a consequence of exposures from asbestos fibers in India in the next 25- 40 years, Indian workers, their families and consumers of the present and future generations will suffer from incurable asbestos-related diseases in the same way as countries where it has been banned are suffering due to past exposures.
On December 4, 2011, Lisa Singh, Tasmanian Senator moved an amendment that the Australian Labor Party pledges to protect workers from exposure to asbestos-related disease in cooperation with international labour organisations and countries to ensure workers across the world were protected from asbestos. Although Australia banned asbestos use in 2003, its deadly legacy remains in their buildings. Around 500 Australians are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year with rates expected to peak in 2020. Australia will host a global conference for a global treaty to ban the use of and trade in asbestos and will lead diplomatic efforts on this front. There are no buildings in India including legislative and judicial buildings which are asbestos free.
TWA and OHI demand that Australia should desist from taking indefensible stand with regard to ban on nuclear power even as it takes good position seeking asbestos free world.
For Details: Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)/ Occupational Health India (OHI), Mb: 9818089660, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web:toxicswatch.blogspot.com
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