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Timely intervention

This refers to the editorial, "A ship we can refuse" (Jan. 7). The Supreme Court Monitoring Committee on Hazardous Wastes Management has rightly recommended that the French Navy's decommissioned aircraft carrier, Clemenceau, should not be allowed to enter India. The vessel's deadly cargo could prove lethal for workers at the Alang ship-breaking yard, apart from damaging the environment.

J. Jayashankar,
Mayiladuthurai, T.N.

* * *

As you have stated, the Basel Convention on Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes gives India the right to refuse entry to the ship and it should exercise that right. The health of our workers is most important.

S. Baqr Ali,
Chennai

* * *

It is a surprise most of our leaders have paid very little attention to such a serious matter. The Supreme Court Monitoring Committee's recommendation on the issue is commendable.

M.K. Chand Raj,
Thiruvananthapuram

* * *

It appears that the lives of poor labourers do not seem to matter to the Ministry of Environment and Forests. If they did, the Clemenceau would not have been allowed to commence its journey to India. All bodies concerned with environmental protection as well as the well being of our workers should fight to ensure that India is not, in future, used as a dumping ground for the toxic waste of the west.

S. Nallasivan,
Tirunelveli, T.N.

* * *

Let all other countries realise that India will not accept such dumping of hazardous material. What is dangerous to the people of France cannot be safe for the people of our country. The Supreme Court Monitoring Committee's poser, "If a ship comes with 1,00,000 cobras, will we accept it just because some Indians can catch cobras," is the right question.

I.V. Prabhakara Rao,
Hyderabad

* * *

That a discussion was even started on whether or not to allow a ship laden with toxic asbestos to land in India shows the respect our authorities have for the lives of the common people. The ship should have been refused entry at the start itself.

Tharcius S. Fernando,
Chennai

* * *

The Supreme Court Monitoring Committee's firm decision will strengthen the hands of environmentalists and human rights groups. It also sends a message to the signatories of the Basel Convention to desist from misinterpreting the agreement to serve their narrow interests at the cost of others.

Sajjan Singh,
New Delhi

* * *

The episode raises this question: do we have a Government committed to ensuring the safety and welfare of citizens? I would think the answer is no.

P.J. Joseph,
Chennai

* * *

India, like western countries, should become more conscious of the environmental problems posed by industries such as ship-breaking and work towards minimising them.

Gaurav Bhatia,
Hyderabad

* * *

We should immediately do the following: formulate norms on handling hazardous material, make periodic medical check-ups for the workforce mandatory, and ban the use of asbestos in industry.

S. Ramamurthi,
Pondicherry

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