Topic outline

    • Law and Social Justice

      Q15. Why are advanced countries relocating the toxic and hazardous industries to developing countries?

      Ans. Advanced countries are relocating the toxic and hazardous industries to developing countries to take advantage of the weaker laws in these countries and keep their own countries safe. South Asian countries – particularly India, Bangladesh and Pakistan – play hosts for industries producing pesticides, asbestos or processing zinc and lead.


      Q16. How can the government meet the challenges where everyone can benefit from the clean environment?

      Ans. One way this can be done is to gradually move to cleaner technologies and processes in factories. The government has to encourage and support factories to do this. It will need to fine those who pollute. This will ensure that the workers livelihoods are protected and both workers and communities living around the factories enjoy a safe environment.

      Q17. Point out the role of government and citizens in establishing a state of law and social justice?

      Ans. A major role of the government is to control the activities of private companies by making, enforcing and upholding laws so as to prevent unfair practices and ensure social justice. While the government has a leading role in this respect, people can exert pressure so that both private companies and the government act in the interests of society.


      Q18. A ‘clean environment is a public facility.’ Can you explain this statement?

      Ans. The environment is something that people over generations will share, and it could not be destroyed merely for industrial development. The courts also gave a number of judgments upholding the right to a healthy environment as intrinsic to the Fundamental Right to Life. It includes the right to the enjoyment of pollution-free water and air for full enjoyment of life.


      Q19. How did Bhopal gas tragedy occur?

      Ans. The world’s worst industrial tragedy took place in Bhopal 24 years ago. Union Carbide (UC) an American company had a factory in the city in which it produced pesticides. At midnight on 2 December 1984 methyl-isocyanite (MIC) - a highly poisonous gas - started leaking from this UC plant. Within three days, more than 8,000 people were dead. Hundreds of thousands were maimed.

      Q20. What are the reasons for the sharp differences in safety standards between the two Union carbide factories in the USA and India?

      Ans. In India, one worker can easily replace another. Since there is so much unemployment, there are many workers who are willing to work in unsafe conditions in return for a wage. Making use of the workers’ vulnerability, employers ignore safety in workplaces. Thus, there were the sharp differences in safety standards between the two Union carbide factories in the USA and India.


      Q21. How can laws ensure that markets work in a manner that is fair? Give two examples to support your answer.

      Ans. To ensure that workers are not underpaid, or are paid fairly, there is a law on minimum wages. A worker has to be paid not less than the minimum wage by the employer. There are also laws that protect the interests of producers and consumers in the market. These help ensure that the relations between these three parties – the worker, consumer and producer – are governed in a manner that is not exploitative.


      Q22. Do you think the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy got justice? Discuss.

      Ans. No, the victims of Bhopal gas tragedy did not get justice. The company which owned this factory- union carbide refused to accept the responsibility of its actions. They got away by paying a small compensation to the survivors. Most of those exposed to the poison gas came from poor, working-class families, of which nearly 50,000 people are today too sick to work. Among those who survived, many developed severe respiratory disorders, eye problems and other disorders. Children developed peculiar abnormalities.

      Q23. Can you think of other ways in which the environment can be protected? Discuss in class.

      Ans. Ways to protect environment

                              i.        Use reusable bags

                             ii.        Print as little as necessary

                            iii.        Recycle

                            iv.        Use a reusable beverage containers

                             v.        Save electricity!

                            vi.        Save water

               vii.        Avoid taking cars or carpool when possible

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