Asbestos Action in Indonesia
(Revised Oct 27)
On October 17, 2010, a new alliance was launched in Indonesia to progress the national campaign to ban asbestos. The Indonesian Ban Asbestos Network (Ina-Ban) is composed of health and safety activists, environmental campaigners, trade unionists and representatives from non-governmental organizations such as Local Initiatives on OSH Network (LION), Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI), the Federation of Construction, Informal and General Workers Union (FKUI-SBSI), the Sedane Information Institute, the MOTHER Foundation and Habitat for Humanity, Indonesia. The ceremony to announce the formation of Ina-Ban was the first item on the agenda of the 2010 meeting of the Asian Ban Asbestos Network (A-BAN) which took place in Bandung, one of Indonesia's largest cities and the capital of West Java province.
During the presentations and discussions which followed the launch of Ina-Ban, delegates were updated on developments in Hong Kong, mainland China, Taiwan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, India, Iran, Korea, Japan and Malaysia. Activists from Europe and North America also took part in strategic discussions regarding future initiatives with the keynote presentation given by Laurie Kazan-Allen, the Coordinator of the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat. In her paper The Global Asbestos Panorama The Winds of Change she reflected on the changed perception regarding the asbestos risk which has taken place during the 21st century: Whereas once upon a time policy makers talked blithely about the 'controlled use of asbestos,' nowadays, she said nothing short of 'no use' is acceptable to civil society.
In the discussions which took place during plenary and roundtable sessions and during the breaks, it became clear that populations in many countries experienced difficulties with: raising low levels of asbestos awareness amongst all sectors of civil society, obtaining information from government sources, accessing appropriate medical care and accurate diagnoses of asbestos-related diseases, disseminating information on asbestos-free alternatives, locating asbestos-contaminated buildings and asbestos-using workplaces. Considerable time was devoted in Bandung to developing strategies for dealing with these challenges.
A fuller report on this meeting will be available in due course.
October 17, 2010