ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)
Miss. Shagufta Jumani
Standing Committee on Human Resource Development
National Assembly (NA), Pakistan
Subject-Kudos to National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Human Resource Development for recommending ban on asbestos
New Year Greetings from ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), New Delhi!
This is with reference to the news report ‘NA body decides to recommend ban on asbestos’ (Sajid Chaudhry, January 01, 2013, Daily Times), I wish to congratulate you and the Hon’ble members of the Standing Committee on Human Resource Development for having recommended complete ban on the import and use of carcinogenic mineral fiber ‘asbestos’ in Pakistan.
I submit that your recommendation paves the way for a asbestos free South Asia.
I wish to request you for a copy of the report that has recommended ban on asbestos so that I can share with the concerned Parliamentary Committees in India.
I submit that in India, Supreme Court has directed the Government of India to incorporate the June 2006 resolution of International Labor Organisation in its order dated January 21, 2012. The resolution seeks elimination of asbestos in all forms. In pursuance of the same the Union Labour Ministry has set up a Advisory Committee to incorporate the resolution in the rules and regulations. As of now mining of asbestos is technically banned in India. The trade in asbestos dust and fibers is also banned. Union Ministry of Environment & Forests has recommended phase out of all kinds of asbestos with safer alternatives. National Human Rights Commission is also examining a complaint against asbestos related diseases wherein it has issued notices to all the State Governments and the concerned central ministries. Kerala State Human Rights Commission has banned use of asbestos in schools. In Bihar, villagers are fighting against asbestos plants and have managed to stop two such plants so far. On December 24, 2012, Chairman, Bihar Legislative Council announced that he will get asbestos roofs from his residence removed because such carcinogenic fibers pose a threat to health.
I wish to request you to initiate the process of making South Asia asbestos free at the next SAARC Meeting so that future generations are saved from incurable lung cancer like diseases caused bu asbestos fibers.
I appreciate the role of Centre for the Improvement of Working Conditions and Environment (CIWCE) who has reportedly stated that “there is no doubt that exposure to asbestos fibres through air is linked with mesothelioma (a form of lung cancer)” but I wish to disagree with him when the CIWCE director exceptions for products and usage with very low possibility of human exposure and marked benefits of the use of asbestos.
I wish to suggest that at Gadani beach, 50 kilometres northwest of Karachi where ship-breaking happens, the asbestos exposure of the workers over there merits serious attention because official study has shown that 16 % of the workers in India’s shipbreaking yard at Alang beach in Bhavnagar, Gujarat are exposed to asbestos fibers. The situation on Gadani beach is no different.
I will eagerly await to hear as what compensation regime is set up for the legal heirs of workers who lost their lives due to asbestos exposure and those who are suffering from the asbestos related diseases. There is a need to create a database of asbestos victims and asbestos laden buildings as a first step.
On behalf of ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) and Global Ban Asbestos Movement, I wish to assure of any information related help that you may require in ensuring that Government of Pakistan accepts your recommendations and takes the lead in making South Asia asbestos free.
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)
Hon’ble Members of Standing Committee on Human Resource Development
Mr. Arbab Muhammad Zahir
Mufti Ajmal Khan
Sardar Muhammad Mushtaq Khan
Eng. Amir Muqam
Mr Malik Bilal Rehman
Mr. Muhammad Hanif Abbasi
Mr. Muhammad Junaid Anwaar Chaudhry
Ch. Tassadaq Masud Khan
Mrs. Sumaira Yasir Rasheed
Mr. Muhammad Tariq Anis
Khawaja Saad Rafique
Mst. Khadija Aamir Yar Malik
Syed Ayaz Ali Shah Shirazi
Dr. Muhammad Ayub Sheikh
Mr Syed Asif Hasnain
Mr Mir Humayun Aziz Kurd
Mr. Lal Chand
Ms. Samina Mushtaq Pagganwala
Ms. Nosheen Saeed