Close to 63,000 square metres of asbestos roofing materials were removed from various public and private buildings in the country, according to an official from Asbestos Eradication Project.
Speaking to The New Times, yesterday, Alfred Byiringiro, a civil engineer, said the initiative, which started in 2010, has seen thousands of asbestos roofs disposed off
Asbestos is considered a dangerous indoor air pollutant and hazardous to human and animal health, which motivated the establishment of the project that operates under the Rwanda Housing Authority.
Various government buildings, including hospitals and schools, have roofs made of asbestos .
“Our target is to remove all the asbestos building materials from houses before 2015. Though people and institutions are injecting in their own money towards asbestos eradication; the process is not as fast as we wish it to be,” he asserted.
Byiringiro mentioned that the process had initially faced a bottleneck of lack proper dumping sites, but, so far, four sites where the materials will be buried had been prepared.
The sites are in areas of Kamonyi and Huye districts in the Southern Province, as well as Ngoma and Kayonza districts in the Eastern Province.
He added that some of the removed materials were buried in Nyanza, Kicukiro District, in Kigali City, while others are for the time being kept in a temporary store in Muhanga District waiting to be properly disposed of in the designated dumping sites.
“We have so far conducted training for 130 companies that can be hired to remove the materials without causing any damage,” he added.
“People who want to remove asbestos inform us first in writing and we provide them with a list of companies responsible for pulling down the materials. Our role is to supervise to ensure proper disposal”.
He called on government institutions like hospitals and schools to fully participate in the process, adding that some institutions did not take the issue seriously.