Miscelleneous : POVERTY & ENVIRONMENT

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Industrial pollution

Case Study I

Acetochemical Private Limited (ACPL) a chemical factory in Behala, Calcutta was producing Paris Green (copper acetoarsenite) for 20 years and dumping the waste without treatment in a nearby wasteland. ACPL was preparing officially 20 tons per year of the chemical compound. About 200 hand tubewells people in the area were using for drinking and cooking got arsenic contamination and highest level measured was 1200 µg/l (WHO guideline value 10 µg/l) and about 4000 people in the surrounding area were drinking contaminated water and more than 200 people got arsenical skin lesions.

The problem was first discovered in 1988 [Chakraborti et al., Environmental Pollution 80 (1993) 57-65] but still the groundwater of the area is arsenic contaminated and spreading to distant area. Even after 12 years the episode came to lime light almost nothing done to combat the situation. Many families in the area knowingly or unknowingly are still drinking contaminated water as they have no available safe water source.

Case Study 2

Altogether in Calcutta there are 40 lead factories. 17 factories together are in thickly populated area known as Picnic Garden. In Kalipark, Dum Dum, Calcutta there is a big lead factory in thickly populated area. The problem we brought to notice almost 10 years back. Still the factory is producing lead and lead alloys. Although at present they are taking precaution for waste management but can a lead factory be permitted to function in a thickly populated area [Chakraborti et al, Environmental Technology, 16, 223-231, 1995]. The workers of the factory opine that they are ready to die from pollution but do not want to be thrown out of job.

Child Labour

• According to ILO (International Labour Office)

• 250 million children between 5-14 years are child labour in the world. 61% in Asia 32% in Africa, 7% in Latin America.

• In India child labour official report about 25 million

• Unofficial 100 million (Ref. Asia Pacific Newsletter on Occupational Health and Saftey, Vipin Bihari, 7:36-38, 2000]

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