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Do not buy Mica from Child Workers, Appeal Indian Officials

The International Labor Organization estimates there are 5.7 million child workers in India aged five to 17, out of 168 million globally

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Children working with Mica. Image source: www.terredeshommes.nl
  • Thousands of children risk their lives working for a pittance in India’s crumbling mica mines
  • Many of these mines are illegal and they hire child workers to keep costs down
  • The current law bans children under 14 from working in only 18 hazardous occupations and 65 processes including mining, gem cutting and cement manufacture

MUMBAI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Indian officials appealed to local traders on Tuesday asking them to stop buying mica mined by child workers. The government comes under pressure from activists to clamp down on child labor as thousands of children risk their lives working for a pittance in India’s crumbling mica mines, extracting the sparkly mineral used in lipsticks and eye-shadow as well as electronics.

Officials from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) visited the eastern state of Jharkhand this month to assess the extent of child labor in its mica mines. The state, along with Bihar state, produces about three-quarters of the mica mined in India.

“Many of these mines are illegal and they hire child workers to keep costs down. But legal or not, no one should be engaging child workers – it is against the law,” said Yashwant Jain, a member of NCPCR, who visited Jharkhand.

“We met with some traders and told them not to buy mica from child workers. We told them we would take strict action against anyone caught doing so,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Thousands of children climb down narrow mine shafts with no safety equipment, and cut mica with hammers and chisels for up to eight hours a day, activists say.

The work puts children at risk of skin disease, respiratory infections, injury and death.

Child labor at a mine Image Source: Numero Unity

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The International Labour Organization estimates there are 5.7 million child workers in India aged five to 17, out of 168 million globally. Up to 20,000 children may be working in the mica mines in Jharkhand and Bihar, according to some estimates.

The current law bans children under 14 from working in only 18 hazardous occupations and 65 processes including mining, gem cutting and cement manufacture.

India wants to amend the three-decade-old law to outlaw child labour in all sectors. But children who help in family businesses will be permitted to work outside school hours, a loophole that activists say may be exploited by unscrupulous employers.

The mica from illegal mines is sold to traders or intermediaries, who sell it to exporters, who in turn sell it to manufacturers of cosmetics, chemicals and electronics. Few have systems to check the use of child labour, activists say.

Indian Nobel Laureate and child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi has said big corporations must do more to clean up their supply chains and ensure that no child labour is involved in the products they manufacture.

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Jain said it would not be fair to target the children’s families, who are usually poor and illiterate.

“We realise it is poverty that is driving these villagers to send their children to the mines, not to schools,” he said.

“So we are putting the onus on the traders, who are benefiting from the situation. Only by raising awareness that what they are doing is wrong can we solve the problem.”(Reuters)

ALSO READ:

  • Aparna Gupta

    This is a great step to curb the evil of child labour and will surely help in child upliftment.

  • Shubhi Mangla

    Strict action must be against those who hire child laborers in hazardous jobs. It is justified that those children should be allowed to work who belong to poor families but after school. But making them work in much mines is putting their life at stake.

  • AJ Krish

    New laws must be passed so that no child works in such hazardous conditions. The loopholes present in the current law must be overcome so that child labor can be put to a complete stop.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Hiring children for such dangerous jobs is a crime. People should take action against these workers who hire children for such work. These children are not only exposed to harmful conditions but are also paid very less

SHARE
  • Aparna Gupta

    This is a great step to curb the evil of child labour and will surely help in child upliftment.

  • Shubhi Mangla

    Strict action must be against those who hire child laborers in hazardous jobs. It is justified that those children should be allowed to work who belong to poor families but after school. But making them work in much mines is putting their life at stake.

  • AJ Krish

    New laws must be passed so that no child works in such hazardous conditions. The loopholes present in the current law must be overcome so that child labor can be put to a complete stop.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Hiring children for such dangerous jobs is a crime. People should take action against these workers who hire children for such work. These children are not only exposed to harmful conditions but are also paid very less

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Children with Mild Asthma can Effectively Manage Condition by Using Two Inhalers

Patients in the group that used both inhalers as needed used about one-fourth the steroid dose of the group that inhaled a prescribed daily amount

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Children, Mild, Asthma
The steroid inhaler lowers inflammation and the bronchodilator, also known as a rescue inhaler, relaxes the airway during an asthma attack to quickly make breathing easier, according to the study published. Pixabay

Researchers have found that children with mild asthma can effectively manage the condition by using their two inhalers — one a steroid and the other a bronchodilator — when symptoms occur.

The steroid inhaler lowers inflammation and the bronchodilator, also known as a rescue inhaler, relaxes the airway during an asthma attack to quickly make breathing easier, according to the study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.

“Patients in the group that used both inhalers as needed used about one-fourth the steroid dose of the group that inhaled a prescribed daily amount. We also were pleased to see that the patients and families felt that they had more ownership over their asthma management when practicing as-needed treatment,” said study first author Kaharu Sumino, Associate Professor at the Washington University.

The researchers found that this approach reduced the amount of steroid medication the children took monthly by almost 75 per cent.

Children, Mild, Asthma
Researchers have found that children with mild asthma can effectively manage the condition by using their two inhalers — one a steroid and the other a bronchodilator — when symptoms occur. Pixabay

The study included 206 African American children six to 17 years of age with mild asthma that was adequately controlled with asthma controller steroid medication. The patients were randomly assigned to one of two groups.

Each participant in one group was advised to take a dose from an inhaler containing the steroid beclomethasone as needed when symptoms arose, along with the rescue bronchodilator albuterol.

Each participant in the second group was advised to take a specific inhaled dose of the steroid beclomethasone daily, regardless of symptoms, plus the rescue bronchodilator as needed in response to symptoms.oo

At the end of the one-year study, the researchers found no differences between groups in surveys of how well the patients’ asthma was controlled, as well as no differences in breathing tests that measure lung function.

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However, the group taking daily beclomethasone, an inhaled corticosteroid, used more of the medication per month than those in the symptom-based group.

On average, children in the daily-use group used 1,961 micrograms per month, while the symptom-based group used 526 micrograms per month, cutting the amount of this medication by almost three-fourths. The reduced amount is desirable, according to the investigators, because steroids have side effects that include stunted growth. (IANS)