Skip to main content

Belgian report alleges MNC Etex responsible for asbestos pollution in Madhya Pradesh town Kymore: COP's Geneva meet

By Our Representative
A comprehensive Belgian report has held MNC Etex, into construction business and one of the richest, responsible for asbestos pollution in Kymore, an industrial town in in Katni district of Madhya Pradesh. The report provides evidence from the ground on how Kymore’s dust even today is “annoying… it creeps into your clothes, you have to cough it”, saying “It can be deadly.”
While Etex, which owned 50% of an asbestos manufacturing facility in Kymore, left in 2001, even today, the report, which provides of photographs of those who have being suffering from asbestosis and cancer, claims, “the soil is full of asbestos”, as asbestos here was “freely dumped” around the town “with disastrous consequences for humans and the environment.”
The report comes ahead of the international Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Rotterdam Convention, to be held between April 25 and May 4 at Geneva, where India is to participate. Already, Occupational & Environmental Health Network India (OEHNI) convener Jagdish Patel has asked Union minister for environment and forests Anil Madhav Dave to "support" including chrysotile asbestos” at COP in the banned list.
Citing a Canadian research by ECOH, the Belgian report insists, “Kymore seems to be built of asbestos. It is incorporated in school, playgrounds, the corrugated iron roofs of the houses of the factory workers. Many of these buildings are in bad shape and crumble. Moreover, the asbestos waste was dumped for years on meadows around the factory and unsafe landfill, even during the period of the Belgian Etex, which was later turned into Eternit Everest Ltd.”
Providing testimonies of people who live in the contaminated area, the report quotes one of the researchers, John Lewis, to say that there was “a significant part of the visible asbestos waste in the period 1996-1997." Quoting Central Pollution Control Board sources, the report states, it too has admitted that “the asbestos factory waste polluted the environment.”
“The researchers took 16 soil samples, 14 of which contained traces of asbestos, some up to 70 per cent. They estimate that about 565,000 square meters of soil is contaminated on the surface with asbestos, and 7,000 to 8,000 people are exposed to it. In most places, the asbestos waste is visible to the naked eye”, the report states.
Pointing out that “more than 20,000 inhabitants of Kymore, especially the poorest, are hardly aware of the health risks they run”, the report states, “The local government and the successive owners have hardly anything done to inform workers and the public”.
Quoting a local lawyer, Tublu Mukherjee, the report says, “Local hospitals do not have the tools to make the right diagnosis and until recently no figures were available for those suffering from asbestos-related disease or who have died to it.”
Things came to the surface in 2012 when a Mumbai-based physician “began with the diagnosis of workers outside Kymore”, the report says. 
It adds, currently, Mukherjee is in the process of preparing documents against the Belgian firm to demand “compensate tens of millions” to those who have suffered from pollution.
The report states, “In 2004, the Flemish waste company OVAM started the remediation of the contaminated lots. Today OVAM has culled more than 125,000 tons of asbestos at more than 900 plots. Nearly 150 plots are still await reorganization." 
Lawyer Mukherjee
According to the report, "This is a preliminary figure because no one knows exactly where all the production waste is spilled.”
Etex is no longer active in India, which makes it easier to ignore an appeal for the court in that country, the report says. 
It adds, this is one of the major reasons why lawyer Mukherjee considering to go in for a collective claim before a Belgian court, in which "he wants to defend all victims together."

Comments

john smith said…
We hear about asbestos testing and wonder why it is so important? You will even find some writers and bloggers try to convince you there are no dangers related to asbestos exposure asbestos inspector
john smith said…
We hear about asbestos testing and wonder why it is so important? You will even find some writers and bloggers try to convince you there are no dangers related to asbestos exposure asbestos inspector

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

Dalits rights meet planned on how citizenship law 'negates' Ambedkar's equality focus

By Our Representative
A Dalit rights meet has been planned at the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), Sanand, Ahmedabad district, to discuss implications of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), passed by Parliament on December 10-11, for Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalized sections. Announcing the decision, DSK director Martin Macwan said, the meet would take place on December 25, 2019, at 11.00 am, to commemorate the anniversary of burning of copies of Manusmriti by Dr BR Ambedkar.

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

By Rajiv Shah
A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.

'Allow critical thinking': SAARC-sponsored varsity teachers support protesting students

By Our Representative
Teachers of the high-profile South Asian University (SAU), a New Delhi-based international institute sponsored by eight member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – have supported “peacefully protesting students and other citizens” against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019 and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Upendra Baxi on foolish excellence, Indian judges and Consitutional cockroaches

By Rajiv Shah
In a controversial assertion, top legal expert Upendra Baxi has sought to question India's Constitution makers for neglecting human rights and social justice. Addressing an elite audience in Ahmedabad, Prof Baxi said, the constitutional idea of India enunciated by the Constituent Assembly tried to resolve four key conflicting concepts: governance, development, rights and justice.

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.