ON January 12th of last year, in an article in the print edition of The Economist, we reported that the public outcry over Beijing’s atrocious air quality was putting pressure on officials to release more data about more kinds of pollutants. We also noted that Chinese authorities had already embarked on a wide range of strategies to improve air quality, and that they probably deserve more credit than either foreign or domestic critics tend to give them. But we concluded with the sad reality that such work takes decades, and that “Beijing residents will need to wait before seeing improvements.”
On January 12th of this year, Beijing residents got an acrid taste of what that wait might be like, as they suffered a day of astonishingly bad air. ...
65 days of hearings, more than 1,000 plaintiffs, 120 million euros for damages, up to 16 years in prison for the two culprits - this is the balance of the process in Turin (Italy), in the words of the prosecutor it is "the world's greatest in the history of workplace safety ". The owners of the Eternit factory, Schmidheiny and de Cartier, should have inflicted death to about 3,000 people by lack of labor protection.
In Bremen, there are approximately 5,000 affected employees and their dependents. They had to do with asbestos in the shipyards during loading and unloading as well as in the processing, the consequences however occurred only after decades as asbestosis or cancer, and it is not always recognized as an occupational disease. Asbestos was banned in Germany in 1993. In 2006 there were 271 recognized cases of asbestosis in Bremen. In Lower Saxony, about 4,400 people have fallen ill.