Asbestos – an ‘ongoing concern’

Asbestos at an old workshop. Picture: FACEBOOK

Contamination of soils from asbestos can present a risk in urban and rural environments.

This, if the asbestos can give rise to elevated levels of airborne fibres that people can breathe.

A recently published Model Asbestos Management Policy report states that while buried material may not give rise to airborne asbestos fibres if securely contained, inappropriate disturbance of this waste could give rise to harmful levels of asbestos fibres in air.

The report also indicates that some activities have the potential to encounter and disturb asbestos waste or contamination, particularly where the contamination is not known to be present at the site or has not been appropriately considered.

The regional report prepared by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and funded by the EU stated the management and disposal of asbestos and asbestos containing materials (ACM) was an ongoing concern in the Pacific region.

In seeking to improve the ways that asbestos and asbestos containing materials are managed, the project’s focus is to prevent exposure to asbestos fibres in order to eliminate asbestos-related diseases.

This policy was established to assist governments across the Pacific islands to formulate asbestos policies and to promote a consistent approach to asbestos management.

It is also designed for governments to adapt an existing asbestos management policy or to develop a new one.

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