ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)
Villagers Demand Health impact study of asbestos & stoppage of asbestos factory
Bihar Lacks Asbestos Cancer Diagnosis Hospital
Asbestos company’s No Objection Certificate has expired
Patna/Vaishali/New Delhi November 12, 2012: A delegation of villagers of Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jansagharsh Committee met Chairman, Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) and submitted a memorandum demanding permanent stoppage of the construction of lung cancer causing proposed white asbestos based factory by West Bengal based Utkal Asbestos Limited (UAL) in Goraul block of Vaishali in a residential area.
Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jansagharsh Committee has declared that it will strongly oppose the construction of the asbestos factory if the concerned authorities do not act to prevent the imminent public health disaster in the light of the 2005 and 2006 resolutions of World Health Organisation and International Labour Organisation which as called for elimination of all kinds of asbestos because safe and controlled use of asbestos is impossible.
The Committee demanded a study of health impact of asbestos by State’s Health Department. A copy of the Hindi Memorandum is attached. The Committee’s Press Statement in Hindi is attached. The villagers noted that factory’s annual requirement over 4 crore cubic litre of water will have grave consequences for the entire region.
The white asbestos is a fibrous material used for building roofs and walls. White asbestos is considered a hazardous chemical substance for human lung and over 55 countries in the world have banned its use. It adversely affects the workers, their families, communities in the vicinity of the asbestos based factories and consumers by causing preventable but incurable lung cancer like diseases for which there is no hospital in Bihar.
Given the fact that No Objection Certificate and Consent-to-Establish certificate given by BSPCB has expired on September 1, 2012, the Committee has demanded that the certificate should not be renewed.
The delegation of Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jansagharsh Committee comprised of Ram Asheshar Sharma, Lalit Kumar Ghosh, Ravindra, Raj Kumar Chaudhary, Gopal Krishna and Awadhesh Kumar.
In a related development, District Magistrate, Vaishali, Bihar held a tripartite meeting with Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jansagharsh Committee, Vashali on October 10, 2012 to hear villagers’ grievance against the proposed asbestos based factory of UAL. The Committee has submitted a Memorandum is to the DM. The same is attached.
The ongoing anti-asbestos struggle in Vaishali, Bhojpur and Muzaffarpur in Bihar has shown that if the government does not act to save public health informed citizens and villagers will act to stop such hazardous factories which are harmful to the present and future generations.
Notably, the National Human Rights Commission has issued notice dated July 6, 2011 to Chief Secretary, Government of Bihar and has sent reminders asking it to file a report on the status of victims of asbestos related diseases in the State and why it should not be banned. The State has not responded as yet.
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) demands that Bihar should become asbestos free to avoid the lung cancer epidemic that has engulfed the developed countries due to past exposure to killer fibers of white asbestos. Since health is a State subject, Bihar Government should act to protect citizens of Bihar by stopping procurement of all asbestos products and stopping proposed asbestos based factories. Defending an indefensible hazardous industry like asbestos industries belittles States’ scientific reputation.
For Details: Ajeet Kumar Singh, Convener, Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jansagharsh Committee Mb: 9931669311
Gopal Krishna, Convener, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), Mb: 8002263335, 09818089660, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web: toxicswatch.blogspot.com