India’s First Step Towards Prohibition of Asbestos at UN Meet
World Condemns Canadian Govt’s Support for Hazardous Chrysotile Asbestos
BANI Welcomes India’s First Step Towards Prohibition of Asbestos at UN Meet
New Delhi/Patna: Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) Welcomes India’s dramatic change in position at the UN Meet on Hazardous Chemicals in Switzerland unlike Canada, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Vietnam who voted against listing chrysotile asbestos or white asbestos in Annexure III of the Rotterdam Convention on hazardous materials.The list makes it legally compulsory for asbestos producing countries to warn importing countries of the health risks associated with the cancer-causing chemical. Indian Government reversed its past opposition to its listing.
The fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP5) to the UN’s Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade underway in Geneva, Switzerland concludes today. The meeting which commenced on 20th June dealt with the possible inclusion of four new chemicals including Endosulfan and Chrysotile Asbestos in Annex III to the Rotterdam Convention.
Meanwhile, international unions and Indo-Canadian Community has denounced Canadian Government’s support for Chrysotile Asbestos based companies at COP5. Environmental groups in India have severely criticized the irresponsible act of Canadian government to adopt a colonial attitude of criminal callousness in the matter of incurable diseases caused by Canadian asbestos mined in Quebec and traded world wide. BANI deprecates the stand of Canadian Government which is akin to supporting slow poisoning of citizens in India and elsewhere.
On 22nd June, 2011 Indian Government supported the listing of Chrysotile asbestos as a hazardous chemical substance while Canada opposed it. India ratified the Convention on 24th May 2005. The act of becoming a Party to the Convention does not in itself obligate other Parties to ensure that there are no exports of the chemicals listed in Annex III to your country. To guarantee this, the Parties needs to provide the Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention with Importing Country Response for each of the chemicals listed in Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention stating that no consent for each one.
The Convention aims to promote shared responsibility and cooperative efforts among Parties in the international trade of certain hazardous chemicals in order to protect human health and the environment from potential harm. It also contribute to the environmentally sound use of those hazardous chemicals, by facilitating information exchange about their characteristics, by providing for a national decision-making process on their import and export and by disseminating these decisions to Parties.
The 46 page current text of the Rotterdam Convention includes the amendments adopted by the First Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (Geneva, 20 – 24 September 2004) and the Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (Rome, 27 – 31 October 2008). The Convention promotes the exchange of information on a very broad range of chemicals. The text of the Rotterdam Convention was adopted on 10 September 1998 by a Conference of Plenipotentiaries in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The Convention entered into force on 24 February 2004.
BANI observes that the inclusion of chrysotile asbestos in Annex III list of chemicals is not an invitation for Indian Government to ban their use. The purpose of the prior informed consent procedure is to allow India to make their own informed decisions on future imports of the chemical depending on their own needs, circumstances and uses of the chemical. However, if Indian Government decides not to allow any future import of chrysotile asbestos, then it must also ensure that any domestic manufacture and use of the chemical is banned.
In view of such requirements, BANI demands that Government of India should ban the domestic manufacture and use of the chrysotile asbestos along with its import after its support for listing of this lethal mineral fiber in the UN list of Hazardous Industrial Chemicals. This decision alone can take Indian Government’s decision to its logical end.
For Details: Gopal Krishna, Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI), Mb: 9818089660,E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Blog: banasbestosindia.blogspot.com,
Website of the Rotterdam Convention: http://www.pic.int/