Tag: worker safety

The Making of Vizag Gas Leak Disaster: Procedural lapses or Regulatory Design?

Under the Environment Protection Law in India, industries that process petrochemical-based products, such as styrene, require two levels of clearances—an Environmental Clearance (EC) from the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and a Consent to Operate (CTO) from the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) which needs to be renewed every five years. As per the reports of the Center for Science and Environment, LG Polymers India had not adhered to rules at both these levels. The inquiry into the causes of the Vizag Gas leak that wreaked havoc in the lives of the denizens of the port city has made it clear that the industry has thrown to the winds any sense of responsibility by withholding crucial information whilst applying for the Environmental Clearance (EC) and Consent To Operate (CTO), thus subverting the regulatory framework to its advantage.  (read more...)

Driver-Citizens and Technical Safety in India: Traffic Violations and Penalties in the Motor Vehicle Act 2019

One of the first things that gets discussed with reference to India is road traffic. Erstwhile known as a land of snake charmers, this classically orientalist image of the country has been displaced by a more technocratic obsession with road traffic and accidents[1]. While debates amongst the educated elite around the “appropriate” use of roads have been ongoing since the early colonial period[2], it is only more recently that road safety has begun to garner palpable urgency in its visibility as a social problem that needs to be solved by the Indian state. As such, with the United Nations declaring 2010-2020 as the ‘Decade for Action on Road Safety’, international pressure on the Global South to adopt road safety has only intensified[3]. (read more...)

The Many Mysteries of MSW

Picture a garbage truck – say, the classic rear-compactor model. Listen to its diesel engine growl as it comes down a street in a large city. Hear its air brakes hiss as it stops next to a pile of trash bags or a row of garbage cans. Watch a worker climb from its cab and tug on his gloves as he walks toward those bags and cans. See him bend, reach, lift, and fling bag after bag, or empty can after can, into the gaping maw of the truck’s hopper. Observe: he feeds it until it can hold no more, then pulls a pair of levers and pauses while a wide blade descends to scoop the contents of the hopper into the body of the truck. Versions of this scenario, mundane and unremarkable, are repeated every day in cities the world over. Garbage collection constitutes a form of mobile infrastructure (read more...)