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DMRC mixing plant on pollution board’s radar

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NEW DELHI: The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has issued a notice, asking the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) why its concrete mixing plant in Janakpuri, a residential area, should not be closed for causing air and noise pollution. The…read more…

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The Curse of Asbestos

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by Eliane Brum

Victims launch an international offensive to revoke the titles and awards of billionaire Stephan Schmidheiny, former owner of the Swiss Eternit Group. In Brazil, they are focusing on the Order of the Southern Cross, granted to him by President Fernando Henrique Cardoso

If it is up to asbestos victims, 2014 may be the worst year in the life of Swiss billionaire Stephan Schmidheiny. They are getting ready to open another front in the struggle to ban the carcinogenic fiber. This time, they are looking at something perhaps more valuable than the actual fortune of the businessman whose family founded the Swiss Eternit Group. Throughout the 20th century, the industrial group planted factories around the world and through them sowed fatal diseases such as asbestosis (known as “stone lung”) and mesothelioma (the so-called “asbestos cancer”). Now, the target of patients and their families is the intangible property to which the Swiss [tycoon] devoted much money, battalions of marketers and his greatest efforts: his biography.

In Brazil, lawyers of the Brazilian Association of People Exposed to Asbestos (ABREA) plan to revoke the prestigious Order of the Southern Cross, granted to the Swiss billionaire by then President Fernando Henrique Cardoso in 1996. The offensive is part of an international strategy of asbestos victims, led by Italian representatives. Since last year, the Italian organization AFEVA (Association of Relatives and Victims of Asbestos) has been pressuring Yale University, in the United States, to revoke the honorary doctorate of humane letters also granted to Schmidheiny in 1996. In Venezuela and Costa Rica, similar initiatives are being organized to pressure institutions that have granted him awards. The goal is to revoke one by one the titles and awards cited by the billionaire in his official biography. For each honor there is a group of victims organizing to press for its annulment. “We are not interested in destroying a human being, but in the search for the truth. And the truth is that there is no honor in the conduct of Mr. Schmidheiny,” wrote Bruno Pesce, coordinator of the AFEVA to the Yale University administration.

Stephan Schmidheiny is a tragic character in the contemporary world. For part of humanity he is a villain, for the other part a hero. During the 1990s, he was extremely careful to construct a biography that could erase – or at least obfuscate – his role as protagonist in what is known as “the greatest health catastrophe of the 20th century”: of the tens of thousands of deaths around the world due to asbestos contamination, a significant number occurred within his family’s Swiss Eternit factories or within a few kilometers from them. Read more

Courtesy: International Ban Asbestos Sectretariat

‘Ban on fresh mining, industries in Western Ghats still in effect’

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Environment Ministry contradicts Moily’s statements

Contradicting the statements made by M. Veerappa Moily, the Union Environment and Forests Ministry informed the National Green Tribunal on Tuesday that orders banning fresh industrial and mining activities in the Western Ghats continued to stand.

The Centre had not withdrawn approval for the Kasturirangan panel report or subsequent orders implementing it, the Ministry said.

Mr. Moily, a day after he took over as Environment Minister, said the Kasturirangan report — on restricting and banning industrial projects and mining in the Western Ghats — would be implemented only after consultation with State Chief Ministers.

He was widely reported in the media as stating that he would write to the Chief Ministers asking for their views and then take a decision.

The petitioners, Goa Foundation, in an ongoing case before the tribunal, referred to the news reports through its lawyers Raj Panjwani and Rahul Chowdhury to demand a clarification from the government. More

Change design of elevated corridor, save trees: NGT

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NEW DELHI: In what could save a large number of trees, the National Green Tribunal has ordered the public works department to consider changing the design of an ambitious road project being planned in one of the most polluted areas of Delhi. The PWD…read more…

DTC tells HC it will need 300 cr to shift bus depot, activists cry foul

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NEW DELHI: Environmentalists have criticised the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) for telling the Delhi High Court that relocation of the Millennium Bus Depot from the ecologically fragile Yamuna riverbed may take 18 to 28 months and cost ` 300…read more…

It’s Green Lights All The Way For Mr Moily

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Jayanthi Fax: A Report Card

Jayanthi Natarajan cleared 289 projects in the 30-month period between Jul 2011 and Dec 2013. In two segments, though, her actions run contrary to the perception that her ministry was an obstacle.

Coal mines in 2012

  • No. of projects considered: 98
  • Approved: 57
  • Declined: 0
  • Additional information: 41

Coal mines in 2013

  • No. of projects considered: 81
  • Approved: 46
  • Declined: 0
  • Additional information: 35

Hydropower projects between April 2003 and December 2013

  • No. of projects considered: 86
  • Approved: 75
  • Declined: 0
  • Additional information: 11

Thermal power projects in 2012

  • No. of projects considered: 49
  • Approved: 27
  • Declined: 2
  • Additional information: 20

Thermal power projects in 2013

  • No. of projects considered: 52
  • Approved: 14
  • Declined: 4
  • Additional information: 34

Research by the Delhi-based EIA Resource and Response Centre using data on coal mines and thermal power projects; and by the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People on hydropower. More

NHRC wants report on asbestos’ health effects

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New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission has taken cognizance of a complaint alleging that over 50,000 people die every year due to asbestos-related cancer in India and asked all state governments including Delhi to submit their reports on the issue.

The complainant Gopal Krishna of Toxics Watch Alliance has alleged that though mining of asbestos has been technically banned by the government, but it allows its import and that too from countries which do not prefer its domestic use. The complainant has sought NHRC’s intervention for a ban on the use of white asbestos. It is a fibrous material used for building roofs and walls.

Delhi government in its report has said there are three factories in the capital that require handling of asbestos. It said the government maintains health records of all workers at these factories.

Courtesy: TNN

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