by Marie Kauna – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
A survey conducted with assistance from the European Union has identified that some countries in the South Pacific are inundated with hazardous building materials that can lead to lung diseases, or even cancer.
Authorities in the Pacific for the first time are aware of the hazard and are now trying to work out on how to get rid of the problem before it becomes a health risk in the region.
According to the Pacific Environment Agency SPREP, “until now, there’s only been anecdotal evidence about the quantity and condition of asbestos in the region.”
With evidence indicating the actual amount of asbestos there is, SPREP’s Pacwaste Project Manager, Stewart Williams, says “there is a priority action list where we’ll address those locations that have the high risk.”
Studies have identified that asbestos is widespread in public buildings such as schools and hospitals. These include buildings, roofing materials, wall materials, flooring and water pipes.
Plans are underway to draw up ideas to get rid of the problem before it becomes a health hazard to the populated countries in the Pacific, especially those that are exposed to high quantities of asbestos.
Education programs will be soon launched to encourage the owners of residential buildings to take precautions and protect themselves from asbestos.