Gov’t to spend Rwf14bn on phasing out asbestos

The Ministry of Infrastructure will spend Rwf 14bn, to remove asbestos roofing from public buildings in the country.Asbestos fibre is considered a dangerous indoor air pollutant and hazardous to human and animal health. Various government buildings, including hospitals and schools, have roofs made of asbestos .

The Ministry of Infrastructure will spend Rwf 14bn, to remove asbestos roofing from public buildings in the country.

Asbestos fibre is considered a dangerous indoor air pollutant and hazardous to human and animal health.

Various government buildings, including hospitals and schools, have roofs made of asbestos .

Speaking to The New Times, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Marie Claire Mukasine, said that a study on how to remove the asbestos was complete.

“The study is over, we have now begun an awareness campaign so that people know the dangers of asbestos and how to get rid of it,” she said adding that experts have come up with safe ways of disposing the roofing material.

“We have also conducted training for 25 companies that can be hired to remove the materials without causing damage,” said Mukasine.

When Asbestos was banned in Rwanda last year, owners of buildings started pulling down the materials from their buildings.

The Ministry of Infrastructure issued a stern warning against poor disposal of the building materials and urged people to wait for the study by Canadian experts on proper disposal.

The government had, in 2009, set a six-month ultimatum for the removal of the material but later extended it, following the complexity of the process and the need for funding.

Mukasine said that they have encouraged every institution to come up with its own budget and, if possible, look for funding to reduce the burden on the government.

She also said that every district had allocated a dumping site for the materials. Mukasine said that the removal might take a period of five to six years with the oldest buildings targeted first due to the dangers they pose.

Asbestos can cause various diseases, including lung cancer.

Rwanda will be the first country in Africa to get rid of Asbestos. Other countries that have successful carried out the exercise include Canada and Japan.

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