RE: “Govt mulls extension of deadline to rid country of asbestos roofing” (The New Times, October 12).
My observations on the asbestos problem in the country:
1. Public buildings: Due to the obvious large number of people accessing these facilities, this should be a priority.
For instance, Lycée de Kigali has asbestos roofing hence all schools and hospitals (whether public or private) need to remove the roofs immediately. Government needs to enforce this in its own facilities and use its many measures at its disposal to ensure private players do their part.
To hear the Catholic Church saying they cannot do this due to lack of funds, oblivious to the obvious and proven health dangers, is astonishing especially given the same advocate for a healthy soul, mind and spirit.
2. Private residences: Go to Kimihurura and you will be astonished that people still rent asbestos-roofed houses. I’m not sure why – this is so probably due to lack of awareness campaigns and/or lack of enforcement.
For private sector, they should be obliged to foot the whole cost – if not part of the cost – and Government can easily enforce measures (including closures of said properties) if the house owner does not comply.
3. Awareness campaigns: Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA) needs to embark on awareness to sensitise communities to push for the removal of houses with asbestos roofing. I hope the concerned will move even faster to ensure this is done.