POB 1483, Baltimore, MD 21203-1483, 410-243-5864
WLA Home
Asbestos Watch
British Asbestos
News from India
Legal Information
News Reports
Paul Safchuck's Alerts
Jim Fite's Alerts
WLA Alerts & News
World Trade Center Health

News from India



Latest Message:

November 16, 2006 CSE Newsletter

Previous Messages:

October 25, 2006 CSE Newsletter

October 12, 2006 CSE Newsletter

September 27, 2006 CSE Newsletter

September 12, 2006 CSE Newsletter

August 3, 2006 CSE Newsletter

June 1, 2006 CSE Newsletter

May 16, 2006 CSE Newsletter

November 24, 2005 CSE Newsletter

September 22, 2005 Newsletter

March 15, 2003 Newsletter

You can find CSE archives of past newsletters on their website.



November 16, 2006 CSE Newsletter

An e-bulletin from the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), India, to our network of friends and professionals interested in environmental issues.


- Press release: Winter woes: Delhi headed for air pollution disaster
- Green Schools Award: India's most environment friendly schools
- Editorial: Making space for emissions
- Cover story: SEZs: Advantage government, battle lost for farmers?
- Podcast: Hear what's new in Down To Earth
- Blogging Kyoto: Daily updates from COP
- News: Killer asbestos finds backers at Rotterdam Convention
- News: Government's new draft rehabilitation policy half-baked
- News: Action against polluting units gives Goa villagers some relief
- Features: West Bengal village sits on archaeological treasure
- Science: Endosulfan may finally have a destroyer
- Jobs: Wanted reporters for Down To Earth magazine


Press release: Winter woes: Delhi headed for air pollution disaster


With the mercury dipping, the air in Delhi is getting heavy with dust and smoke as the cold weather blocks the dispersal of pollutants. This low-hanging shroud, in turn, impairs visibility and chokes lungs. A new assessment by CSE of the trends in peak pollution levels during winter months since 1998 has revealed that pollution during the season -- despite a climb-down in 2003 -- has begun to rise once again.

Sign up for CSE's Air Pollution Bulletin, a monthly newsletter on developments in the fight for clean air.

The newsletter features:
- Policy police: Comments from Anumita Roychowdhury, head of CSE's clean air campaign
- Action alert: In-depth analysis of new regulations, developments and politics of air pollution
- Smog digest: A news digest on vehicular pollution compiled from 80 leading newspapers

Sign up for this newsletter by clicking the link below>>

You can follow the same link to sign up for CSE's other newsletters:
- E-Pov: In-depth news and analysis on environment, poverty, governance and updates on the NREGA Act
- Body Burden: Exploring the critical link between health and environment


Green Schools Award: Rewarding environment awareness


For over a year, students have been monitoring the environmental performance of their schools under the Gobar Times Green School Programme. All participants performed a rigorous self-audit following a set of guidelines outlined in the Green Schools Manual. Now it is time to announce the winners of the Green Schools Award for India's top performing schools. You are cordially invited to attend the awards event.

Date: November 27, 2006
Time: 3:30 pm onwards
Venue: Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, Lodi Road, New Delhi

Awards will be given in the following categories:
- Top green schools of India
- Green teachers' team award
- Best students' audit team award

To sign up to become a green school>>


Editorial: Making space for emissions


By Sunita Narain

What does the ubiquitous auto-rickshaw and the plush aeroplane have in common, other than getting us from one place to another? The auto-rickshaw, as India's largest manufacturer Rahul Bajaj will tell you, is the symbol of democratic mobility - it provides transport for large numbers of people at what he says is affordable costs. But these vehicles are technology poor, and extremely polluting. How then do you control emissions from these vehicles, which are sources of employment for the poor; which drive the not-so-well-off from one place to another; and are manufactured using poor technology? How do you balance interests of equity and access with the interests of clean air and health?

Two approaches are possible: one, to find fuel and technology options to reduce emissions. Delhi, for instance, now runs autos on compressed natural gas; Kathmandu has a fleet of battery-operated autos; and Bangalore is experimenting with LPG . But if this emission-efficiency happens without controls on numbers of vehicles, then the 'clean' atmospheric space created will be gobbled up and decimated by the hordes of private vehicles on the roads.

The other approach would be to create ecological space for auto-rickshaws to emit. In other words, atmospheric space would be allocated based on the number of people a vehicle transports. Cars, which transport fewer numbers, would have to be reduced. This would also mean that we should reduce the numbers of auto-rickshaws and replace them with buses, which carry even larger numbers. If the bus is emission-free, we get a double win - where mobility is possible without damaging our health and the health of our planet. Call it moving from autocratic pollution to democratic pollution control.

But what does this have to do with aircraft? The fact is that airline travel is also getting "democratised" - large numbers of people travel in planes in both low-cost carriers and on short-haul routes. The question is two-fold: how will this growth of air travel affect global carbon emissions? How will the pollution from aircraft be shared within the atmospheric space of the world, particularly when greenhouse gas emissions are skewed by power and wealth.

We know that aircraft are responsible for greenhouse gas emissions. What is disputed is the degree of responsibility airlines should assume in limiting global emissions. The airline industry argues that its contribution to total human-made emissions is minuscule - less than 3 per cent of the world's annual carbon dioxide emissions. Scientists say this could be underestimated as high-altitude emissions are more damaging. Nitrogen dioxide from airline engines leads to formation of ozone, and are worried about the impact of cirrus clouds formed by aircraft, which they believe contribute to global warming. If all this is accounted, the contribution of air travel to global warming is possibly closer to 5-9 per cent.

However, what is beyond dispute is that the airline sector is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases. In Europe, emissions from air travel increased by an estimated 73 per cent between 1990 and 2003, and are spiralling. Environmental NGOs estimate that this growth of airline emissions has just about cancelled out a quarter of the emission reductions made by European countries in the same period.

The Kyoto Protocol, which seeks to limit the emissions of the industrialised world, does not include international aviation emissions in its controls. Instead, the UN's International Civil Aviation Organisation was to address this issue, but has done little since. Now Europe is rocking this boat. In July, the European parliament voted in favour of measures to cap airline emissions in the future. When (and if) this scheme goes into effect in two to three years, it would involve creating a European airline emissions trading scheme - effectively putting a price on their emissions.

But protest is mounting. The aviation industry is calling it a "tax on holidays". They scream that budget airlines and recreation travel will be hardest hit by this tax.

The problem is that global airlines, the mode of transport for the rich, have had a sweet deal. For instance, international flights do not pay fuel tax. They also get other exemptions, including huge financial bailouts from public funds when they are in trouble. Now this mode of transport is expanding its market - competing with cheaper railways, roadways and other modes of transport. Then budget airlines - in Europe and in India - are growing exponentially and are forcing their competitors to cut costs further. The only option is to push governments for lower taxation and more (not less) sops. In India, the clamour is to reduce the domestic tax on aviation fuel.

But here the similarity between autos and planes ends. The fact is that airline travel cannot be considered 'survival' emissions but are 'luxury' emissions. The fact also is that the rich in the world have overused their atmospheric space (or pollution quota) and that the poor need to be compensated for this overuse. The sad and unfortunate fact also is that the poor are most vulnerable to adverse climate changes. Therefore, a tax on the airline industry is needed to pay for the unused carbon quota of the poor or indeed their adaptation costs. This 'entitlement' payment will then provide incentives to invest in technologies that do not add to global emissions.

The auto-plane principle is simple: we will need to free up the occupied ecological space and then fill it up with things that can benefit all and do not blow up our present and future. Simple, yes, but unpalatable?

- Sunita Narain


Cover story: SEZs: Advantage government, battle lost for farmers?


Of late, the Indian government has been pushing forth its new policy on special economic zones (SEZs), envisaging big revenue generation and creation of infrastructure. But setting up of SEZs is not a simple task as it entails massive land acquisition and subsequently, displacement of farmers. Much of the land involved is fertile, agricultural land, though the government has said it will only acquire wasteland now. This is a hard task as it is difficult to identify whether a piece of land is indeed waste. Under such circumstances, where they risk losing productive land, farmers are slowly gearing up for a fight against the high and mighty. Will they succeed?


Podcast: Hear what's new in Down To Earth


Want to hear the latest from Down To Earth every fortnight? Get our new audio podcast for a briefing on what's in the issue. Subscribe to the podcast using free podcast software such as Juice or Itunes.

What is a podcast? How do I download podcast software?

Feed URL>>


Blogging Kyoto: Daily updates from COP


Down To Earth is in Nairobi, Kenya, this week covering COP-12/MOP-2, the annual UN climate change conference.
The high-level conference will feature discussions on the Clean Development Mechanism, the future of the Kyoto Protocol after 2012 and negotiations on a fund to help developing countries adapt to climate change.

Visit our blog for the daily inside scoop on the conference. Post your comments and suggestions on side events you want covered and questions you had and we will do our best to address them.

For daily coverage from November 10-17, 2006 visit >>


More in Down To Earth magazine


News: Killer asbestos finds backers at Rotterdam Convention

Parties to the Rotterdam Convention, an international treaty governing trading in toxic substances, have failed to add chrysotile -- the most common form of asbestos -- to the prior informed consent (PIC) list. According to PIC, exporting countries must inform importers about the substance before shipping it. The opposition to list chrysotile, an industrial toxin that causes diseases like lung cancer and mesothelioma, was led by Canada and supported by a few countries, including India.

Read complete article >>


News: Government's new draft rehabilitation policy half-baked

The centre recently released a new draft rehabilitation policy. This is the watered-down version of a previous one prepared by the National Advisory Council, which the government had dumped earlier this year. The new policy has many shortcomings: firstly, it does not take into account development-induced displacement, and secondly, it deviates from the issue of enforceable rights and compensation for the loss of livelihoods.


News: Action against polluting units gives Goa villagers some relief

The Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court has upheld the Goa State Pollution Control Board's decision to issue closure notices to three polluting units in Cuncolim Industrial Estate. The order came in response to a PIL, which was filed after local authorities failed to curb pollution in two nearby villages, which have been devastated as a result of the pollution. Villagers allege that these units, most of which manufacture ferro alloys and steel, dump waste into water bodies or bury it, causing great danger to their lives and health.


Features: West Bengal village sits on archaeological treasure

Lohapur, a tiny village in West Bengal's Birbhum district, has a problem of plenty. Excavation of a 16 sq km patch of land invariably leads to discovery of stone artefacts belonging to the Pala dynasty (750-1150 AD). Even though villagers are proud of their possessions (almost every family owns one), they do little for maintaining these treasures from the past. Most of the time, figurines can be seen lying around, covered with moss or vermilion. Some of the more precious ones, villagers allege, have been stolen by outsiders.


Science: Endosulfan may finally have a destroyer

Scientists at Indian Institute of Technology Madras have discovered a bacterial mixture, which breaks down the deadly pesticide, endosulfan, into environment friendly inorganic chemicals. This happens under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Endosulfan enters the air, water and soil during its manufacture and use. Exposure can lead to birth defects, hyperactivity, nausea, dizziness, headaches and sometimes even convulsions.


Jobs: Wanted reporters for Down To Earth magazine


CSE is looking for reporters for Down To Earth magazine. The candidate should have 1 to 5 years of professional experience. Freshers can also apply.

The job requires:
- Willingness to travel to little known parts of India
- Ability to make sense of complex information and statistics
- Ability to write clearly in English

The magazine looks at all matters of general interest -- politics, economics, finance, markets, diplomacy, conflicts -- through the science and environment perspective.

E-mail your resume to jgupta@cseindia.org


CSE is an independent, public interest organisation that was established in 1982 by Anil Agarwal, a pioneer of India's environmental movement. CSE's mandate is to research, communicate and promote sustainable development with equity, participation and democracy.
E-mail: < cse@cseindia.org>
Privacy policy: https://www.cseindia.org/terms-1234
Address: 41 Tughlakabad Institutional Area, New Delhi - 110062

Tell us if you know a colleague or friend who might enjoy this newsletter

© Centre for Science and Environment


Front Page, Week Of:

4/16/05: Spectre to Introduce U.S. Asbestos Bill This Week

5/22/05: Individuals Injured by Asbestos Exposure Oppose Specter's Trust Fund Legislation

10/16/05: Victim's Organizations Form Asbestos Victims Coalition in Opposition to Asbestos Trust Fund Legislation

11/17/05: White Lung Mourns Jose Jesus Pessora

12/18/05: Frist Introducing Asbestos Bill in January

12/04/06: Asbestos Watch Newsletter: Help Celebrate the 27th Anniversary of the WHITE LUNG ASSOCIATION

Jim Fite's Alerts:

Asbestos Victim's Superfund Compensation Program

Asbestos Watch March 14, 2005 (Maryland chapter of the White Lung Association meetings)

Directorate of Safety, Health, and Environment (open letter)


Joe Oliver's Alerts:

Joe Oliver, National Board Member and former President of the White Lung Association, has issued a call to all persons to help gather evidence on the conspiracy by asbestos trade organizations to suppress the knowledge about the hazards of asbestos exposure.

If you know anything about this horrific history or have documents which can be used to further prove their heinous crimes, please contact Joe Oliver, WLA, POB 1483, Balt. MD 21203.

Leonard Makowski's Alerts:

The White Lung Association stands in opposition to The Specter Bill (S.852)

WLA Alerts & News

S.1115: Bill to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act to reduce the health risks posed by asbestos-containing products - This bill is supported by the WLA.

Meet Mr. Asbestos

Proceedings of the Asbestos Symposium for the Asian Countries - now available for purchase.

Australia Bans Asbestos!



Senator Specter Breaks Promise to Mesothelioma Patient and Research Community

Senate Judiciary Committee returns to Mark-Up on May 11th: Proposed asbestos trust fund legislation will further penalize victims of asbestos-caused diseases


World Trade Center Health:

In May 2003, the Global Environment & Technology Foundation developed the "Asbestos Strategies" report.

British Asbestos Newsletter:

The latest issue is Spring 2005


News from India:

The latest issue is January 4, 2007



December 17, 2000 is Asbestos Hazard Awareness Day


Current Projects:

Asbestos Museum


Articles & Publications:

Occupational Respiratory Diseases: Asbestos Associated Disease -- Reprinted from: Maxcy-Rosenau Public Health and Preventative Medicine 11th ed. (John M. Last, Ed.) 1980, Appleton-Century-Crofts

Asbestos Victims Deserve Compensation Not Betrayal: position release by the Board of Directors, White Lung Association



In Memoria:

Paul Safchuck May 21, 2003

Dr. William Nicholson Dies at 70

Ray Sentes Brave Fighter For Asbestos Victims

For more information please contact info whitelung org.