An outbreak of a respiratory disease in the Agate polishing cluster, in Gujarat’s Kheda district, has prompted the development of a government-managed polishing and cutting facility.
Agate, a silicate quartz, is cut and polished by workers, who typically work from home and do not wear protective masks.
Mr.Sanghavi, the chairman of The Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), Gujarat is in talks with the state to provide land for the construction of a common facility, to combat the deadly disease that has adversely affected the Ahmedabad gems and jewellery cluster. GJEPC will set up this facility. It will have good ventilation, along with proper tools and protective gear for workers. This will greatly reduce the occurrence of Silicosis in the workers of this cluster, according to a PTI news report published in The Hindu Business Line.
A simple health regulation of wearing masks and other protective equipment can prevent this disease. The lack of awareness lead to the outbreak of the disease. The polishing and grinding of Agate, a silicate quartz, has been on for decades in the Kheda district. The polishing and grinding of Agate produces massive amounts of dust that contain 2-5 particles of free Silica. When this silica is inhaled, it causes Silicosis in the lungs with catastrophic results.