Raising Asbestos Awareness in India
For more than two years, a local non-governmental organization has been investigating asbestos issues in Gujarat. In 2009-2010, the Peoples Training And Research Centre (PTRC) has conducted an asbestos outreach program to raise awareness of the hazard amongst various sectors of civil society including workers, medical professionals and academics. The latest meetings in Gujarat took place on Saturday July 17, 2010 in Bhavnagar the nearest big city to the infamous Alang ship-breaking yard. An evening workshop, attended by 80 people, attracted academics, students and activists; delegates heard presentations by Jagdish Patel of the PTRC and Dr. Jigya Dave, the head of the chest department of Bhavnagar's Medical College.
Another session, which was held the same day, featured an agenda focused on medical issues; dozens of medical practitioners heard presentations by Professor Rajeev Paliwal from Karamsad Medical College and the PTRC's Jagdish Patel. A photographic exhibition entitled India's Asbestos Time Bomb, which was on display at the workshop venue, graphically illustrated the various facets of India's asbestos challenge.1
Commenting on these activities, Jagdish said:
The PTRC's research into asbestos issues in Gujarat has documented an almost complete lack of knowledge of the asbestos hazard throughout the State; this dangerous ignorance is to be found amongst all sectors of civil society. Working with our partners, the PTRC has designed and run several information workshops aimed at highlighting the ongoing risks posed to society by occupational and environmental exposures to asbestos, a substance which is banned throughout the developed world due to its carcinogenic properties.
July 19, 2010