Kartika Liotard opens EARA conference on asbestos removal

5 October 2006

Kartika Liotard opens EARA conference on asbestos removal

SP Euro-MP Kartika Liotard was in Amsterdam today to give the opening address to the conference of the European Asbestos Removal Association (EARA). “An asbestos-free world can only be achieved if all partners work together: politicians, governments and asbestos removal experts," she said. “Time to roll up our sleeves and get to work!”

Kartika LiotardAt the EARA conference could be found, in addition to politicians and experts on asbestos removal, representatives of government ministries, doctors, and activists from a number of organisations including Greenpeace. Kartika Liotard used her speech principally to call for a serious and determined approach to asbestos removal. Complaining of “grown men pointing their fingers at each others' wallets while dozens of people are being infected, breathing asbestos fibres on a daily basis, and dying”, she called for an end to “bickering” over money. “Asbestos must be got rid of," she said, "not only from ships like the Otopan, but also from the many kilometres of asbestos roads and paths here in the Netherlands.”

After giving an account of the long involvement of the SP in the struggle against asbestos, Liotard talked about the international asbestos conference which she organised last year in the European Parliament. “Companies, victims, doctors, lawyers and politicians from twenty-five countries signed the Brussels Declaration issued at the end of this conference," she said. The declaration listed measures which are urgently needed in relation to asbestos production, the removal of asbestos, and the rights of victims and potential victims and their families. "There is," Ms Liotard said, "a great need for a concrete action plan on asbestos for the whole of Europe as well as for the third world.”

She concluded by calling for everyone at the EARA conference to roll up their sleeves and work together. “European corporations must be banned from continuing to produce and sell asbestos in the third world," she urged. "Our deadly waste must be cleared up quickly and expertly, in Europe and beyond. This will succeed only if everyone cooperates.”

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