A symposium on ‘Public Protection and Education on Radiation Safety’ was organized by the Centre of Disaster Risk and Safety (C-DRAS) under PHILANTHROPE, in association with the UK-India Bilateral Expert Knowledge Exchange Network on Radiological Safety and Security and Association of British Scholars, on 16th February 2016 at the India International Centre Annex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi.
Addressed by eminent speakers and professionals from government and private sectors, media professionals and community representatives, the event also had Dr. Jitendra Singh, Hon’ble Minister of Atomic Energy and PMO, Government of India, launching a book on ‘Radiation Safety Management’ edited by Dr. Angeli Qwatra.
With the objective of creating awareness on this subject among the masses and providing a forum for sharing knowledge experiences and good practices across, the day long symposium focused on the shroud of mystery about radiological/nuclear safety and how myths and misinformation can be removed through a large scale awareness generation programme in the public domain. With the increasing use of radiation technologies, conscious efforts need to be made to enhance public awareness on the benefits as well as safety aspects of radiological technology.
Also, discussions were held on the basics of nuclear radiations and how nuclear power and radiation technology can improve the quality of life in without compromising on the safety of the citizens.
The symposium had eminent speakers speak about the phenomenal growth in the application of radioisotopes and radiation technology that has resulted in a higher quality of life for the human race worldwide. Since India utilizes nuclear radiation in a variety of beneficial applications in the fields of industry, agriculture, medicine and research, a large number of organizations/ agencies like the police, fire and emergency services, medicos, paramedicos, NGO’s, civil defence and home guards as well as the community itself, including the colleges and schools, should be included upon in the radiological safety programs.
On the occasion, Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of state for Atomic Energy, emphasised on the fact that “India needs more scientist coming from the young generation to be able to make India as a superpower. He also added that there are a lot of myths regarding use of nuclear power and research. In the last 60 years highest standards of radiation safety regulations implemented in India has led to lesser injury or death due to use of radiation technology, including nuclear power plants.”
Dr. Angeli Qwatra, Director General of Centre for Disaster risk and Safety under Philanthrope spoke on various aspects of Radiation Safety and said,“There is a need to clarify public misconceptions through awareness and education programs on the exposure and use of radiation. From the moment we get up till we go to bed at night, our body keeps receiving radiations. Radiations are also used in production of various food items we eat, or even clothes we wear and sometimes we get exposed to them for our own benefit.”
“From the water we drink in the morning, the food that we eat, the medicines we take and the X ray and CT Scans that we go through are all giving us radiations. On a daily basis all of us are receiving radiations from the energy from various sources including the sun and stars, Television Broadcasting, Mobile Phone towers. Human environment accounts for upto 80% of annual human radiation dose.” said Dr. Qwatra.
Dr. Qwatra further added,“Kerala and Tamil Nadu in India have the highest level of radiation affecting the populations. One of the most common sources of radiation affecting our daily life is the granite stone that we use in our houses which emit Radon gas. The number of deaths or disabilities due to radiations is much less than the deaths caused due to road or even air accidents in the world. In simpler terms radiation is like fire, if used properly it is an important technology and if uncontrolled it can be serious, but it cannot be avoided.”
Among the eminent participants were Hon'ble Shri Sudhir Kumar, Member, Central Administrative Tribunal; Ms. Jennifer Cole, Secretary, UK-India Bilateral Expert Knowledge Exchange, Network on Radiological Safety and Security, Royal United Services Institute, London; Sqr. Ldr. Kamal Chaudhry four times Member of Parliament; Dr. Angeli Qwatra, Director General, Center for Disaster Risk and Safety; Prof. Vinod K Sharma, Executive Vice-Chairman, Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority (SSDMA), Gangtok; Dr. Baljinder Singh, Dean, Nuclear Medicine, PGI Chandigarh; and Vikram Singh (IPS), former Director General Uttar Pradesh Police and Vice Chancellor, NOIDA International University.