solidsurfacealliance.org Blog


Brazilian Environmental Concerns Continue to Arise From Granite Quarrying

Posted in Granite social and envirnomental issues by Administrator on the October 19th, 2008

Here is an excellent story on locals dealing with the enviromental concerns from a granite quarry. Streams filling with sillt and mud, even drying up after water is diverted, mudslides, you name it. It is a Yahoo Babelfish translated page, so it take a minute to load.

COLATINA CITY, Brazil granite mining concerns

Another article is about illegal mining in Brazil. It seems there is a tax of 2 to 3% of the value of stone sold from the mine, which some companies don’t want to pay. So they open mines in rural areas, bribing the local officials to look the other way. In this case, even the property owners didn’t know the granite was being mined. This article is mostly about the controversy, ins and outs of the court fight over ownership and the amount of tax evasion going on.

Fighting for royalties and tax evasion by one granite company

Announcing the New Solid Surface Alliance Forum

For more info, to ask questions, or to find a tester, go to forum.solidsurfacealliance.org

We finially have the Forum up for the Solid Surface Alliance. Unregistered guests can browse all but one of the catagories, but if you want to ask a question or comment, you need to register. Registeration is easy, fill out the usual form, the system will email you with a link to activate your account, then just log in as usual.

The forum is brand new, so there won’t be much content until the membership grows, so add a question or comment if you visit to help get the conversations going. New forums are tough to start, people look around, see little going on, and leave. But, with the volumne of questions we get from the public, this forum will save lots of time and make the answers available for all interested internet viewers to find.

There is one section off limits to all but invited members, that is the Scientific Section which is dedicated for those who are working on the issues. There they can spreak freely, bounce ideas off each other, and not worry about info getting picked up and repeated elsewhere before the proper time.

Please contact us if you have any problems signing up or logging on. Remember you MUST click on the link in the email that is sent to you to activate your account. You might have to scroll down one page when you open the email to find the activation link.

Thanks,
Al
For more info, to ask questions, or to find a tester, go to forum.solidsurfacealliance.org

Marble Trade Sucks Indian Village Dry

Posted in Granite social and envirnomental issues by Administrator on the August 22nd, 2008

For more info, go to forum.solidsurfacealliance.org

This story is simple, do you want to have a job or do you want to have water? It shows the lack of infrastructure that turns the stone industry against the local inhabitants.

Marble Trade sucks indian villiages dry

More Child Labor Showing up in Granite and Marble Quarries

Posted in Granite social and envirnomental issues by Administrator on the August 22nd, 2008

For more info, go to forum.solidsurfacealliance.org

In January 1995, the Indian Citizens’ Commission on Bonded Labour and Child Labour obtained the release of 76 bonded laborers working at a stone quarry in the Bhiwini District near Delhi. Over half of the workers were described as children in a news report covering the release.

For the entire story, go down about a third of the way down, under Manufacturing and Mining Child Labor cases.

Once again, this industry needs some standards put in place to prevent this kind of abuse.

Terrorism is Linked Again to the Natural Stone Industry

Posted in Granite social and envirnomental issues, Recent Info on the testing effort by Administrator on the July 19th, 2008

Last year, the SSA reported on the link between the Bin Laden family and the natural stone industry. We took a lot of heat, people saying that Bin Laden was not supported by his family. Who knows? Still this made perfect sense, in the lawless areas of the world where some of the stone is mined, rebel or terror groups control the areas. If you want to mine stone, you pay bribes.

So today, when Christina ran into this article, it was no real surprise, just nice to have another source backing the claim that Terrorism is linked to natural stone. Click on the link below to read the entire story.

Pakistan Marble Helps Taliban Stay in Business

It seems that Pakistan has lost control over much of the area between it and Afganistan. The Taliban stepped into the void, forced a settlement between two fueding tribes over mineral rights, then found a stooge to run the quarry. The Taliban got thousands of dollars for making it happen, then they collect tax on the marble blocks being trucked to processing plants.

The Taliban recieves about $500 per day in “Taxes” or bribes. The Pakistani Taliban is lead by , Baitullah Mehsud, a powerful ally of Al Qaeda who keeps his base in South Waziristan, another part of the tribal areas.

The Taliban is being revitalized by the cash generated. One tribesman, known as Bahadar, who works there, predicted, “If this continues for two more years, they will take on America itself”.

So to be socially responsible, one must find the country of origin of the slabs to ensure that neither child labor companies or terror cells profit from the purchase of natural stone. Just one more thing foisted upon a consumer who is interested in doing the right thing.

More Than 6,000 children From Benin Forced to Work in Granite Quarries

Posted in Granite social and envirnomental issues by Administrator on the June 12th, 2008

Police in Nigeria rescued 74 boys as young as 4 years old from granite quarries were they were forced to work. Sold into bondage by their parents in many cases, these boys carried stone for 35 cents a day.

The entire story can be read here
http://www.stoneworld.com/Articles/Industry_News/b8eb9f4b606f7010VgnVCM100000f932a8c0____?from=email

Putting a Human Face on Child Labor in the Granite Industry, Meet Davali

Posted in Granite social and envirnomental issues by Administrator on the June 9th, 2008

I am usually not one to worry too much about those in third world countries, typical American, out of sight and out of mind issues aren’t a priority. This story about Bonded Labor children in India brought home the issue of just how bad those kids have it over there.

The story is about an orphanage in India that serves children who were victims of Bonded Labor. Davali was with sixty other children found working in an Indian stone quarry, none of the children had ever been to school, none had ever seen a book. Davali’s family was paid 33 cents per week for her labor.

Devali was born in the quarry where her father worked, was pressed into service at a very, very, young age. Carrying stones on her head stunted her growth, leading to severe neck and leg swelling . Davali’s father borrowed money from the quarry owner for Davali’s one doctor visit, leaving the family in insurmountable debt, leading to bonded labor for the entire family.

There is a video clip about these children if you are tough enough to watch it.

Nestled in the outskirts of Delhi, Balika Mukti Ashram is a home for children who have been victims of bonded labor

Davali is now eight years old, attending school at the orphanage.

Count your blessings that you were born in America no matter what. Ask yourself if any countertop material brought to market by child labor is a good thing.

This post is part of Operation Miles H. Crowes, named for a granite fabricator that brought this issue to the forefront.

The Real Cost of Inexpensive Granite Countertops

Posted in Granite social and envirnomental issues by Administrator on the June 8th, 2008

One of the reasons of the boom in granite countertop sales was the continued falling prices of both materials and installed countertops. Several factors lead to this, Globalization, Chinese regulations on allowable radiation levels in granite for household use, currency valuations, and most of all, cutthroat competition for an increasing market. This article will restrict the discussion to cutthroat competition, leaving the other factors for future discussion.

Granite is found all over the world but the strip mining needed to extract the stone is labor intensive and causes a lot of environmental impact around the mine. Noise, heavy truck traffic, toxic heavy metal rain water run off, slightly radioactive toxic heavy metal dust, and the damage done to the land all lead to resistance from nearby land owners and homeowners. Far more likely to get a license to strip mine approved in a poor area where jobs are scarce. Developing third world countries are both desperate for jobs, but usually lack labor laws, environmental laws, infrastructure, even basic needs like clean water and health care for the workers go unmet. But the locals will work cheap and the local politicians can be bought cheap as well. All recipes for human misery.

This link is about one such country, India, specifically the article looked at area around Bangalore in the state of Karnataka, India.

Real cost of India’s cheap stone

The article ends asking if consumers can pressure the granite industry to provide stone without resorting to child labor and environmental destruction.

As a consumer, what steps do you feel the granite industry should take to clear up these issues?

This post is part of Operation Miles H. Crowes, named for a granite fabricator that brought this issue to the forefront.