Canadian premier denounced over asbestos export to India

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New Delhi, Feb. 6 (ANI): The premier of the Canadian province of Quebec, Jean Charest, has said that he can't do anything to prevent the export of asbestos to India, where it has been linked to the health problems of workers.

Charest's statement came during a news conference where he had gone to attend the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, the Globe and the Mail reports.

Speaking to delegates during the summit, Charest stressed that federated states like Quebec can have an influence in the fight against climate change.

For the second time in a week, unions and other groups called on Charest to put a halt to the export of the cancer-linked material, which is used in construction.

After his speech to delegates, Charest refused to elaborate on the possible contradiction between his environmental positions and his actions on the asbestos file.

The Premier limited himself to saying that the responsibility comes back to the Indian government.

"We have taken all our responsibilities, we've put in place standards and have promoted them. There's a limit as to what we can do," he said. "It was up to the Indian government to put these standards in place," he said.

In front of the hotel where the conference was being held, Anup Srivastava of the Building and Wood Workers International union said asbestos is far from being a product that contributes to sustainable development.

"We are here before the summit of sustainable development and we're talking about environmental questions. I think the message is clear: asbestos is not green," he said.

The Trade Union Centre of India estimates that close to 25 per cent of Indian workers exposed to asbestos dust develop lung diseases such as asbestosis. (ANI)

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