Silicosis is a lung disease caused by exposure to silica dust.
The apex court, which is hearing a matter related to rehabilitation of workers who have suffered from silicosis while working in factories in several states, was told that Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had inspected polluting units functioning in a state and gave its report in 2017.
“It (CPCB report) presents a grim picture. Not only there have been large scale violations insofar as environmental laws are concerned, it has led to serious health problems among the habitants of these areas causing various diseases and even deaths,” a bench of justices A K Sikri (since retired) and S Abdul Nazeer noted in its order.
The counsel appearing for the petitioner told the apex court that the CPCB should take steps to ensure that polluting industries are closed.
The counsel appearing for CPCB told the court that many such polluting units in Gujarat have already been ordered to be closed.
The CPCB assured the bench that appropriate action will be taken against polluting industries which are still operational in the state.
“A show cause notice be issued to all the states on this aspect. They should file their replies as to why compensation should not be fixed by this court for paying the same to the victims of silicosis which have occurred to the habitants where the industries are located,” the bench said.
It asked the states to file their replies on this aspect within six weeks.
“We make it clear that this aspect (compensation to victims of silicosis) will be considered on the next date of hearing and appropriate orders will be passed thereupon,” the bench said in its order.
The top court had earlier asked the CPCB to apprise it about the steps taken to prevent silicosis and to provide workers a dignified and safe working environment.