Asbestos World Watch April 2nd, 2009

In GREAT CLIFTON, UK, asbestos dumping near a primary school angered local residents.

One finding of asbestos was locked in concrete and removed from a hedgerow 60 feet from the Derwent Vale Primary School. A second discovery of roof sheeting was found in a field 500 meters from the school.
Besides concerns for the health of the children at the school, whose tiny lungs could be more greatly impacted by inhalation of asbestos, residents also voiced fears for those who frequently walked their dogs along the path nearby.

The Allerdale council was told of the material, and the roof sheets and concrete asbestos were removed from the property on March 18, 2009. The environmental quality officer for the council, Margaret Heyes, said: “We have notified the Environment Agency and have made arrangements to dispose of it carefully.”

Ms. Heyes also noted that the school was informed and assured that none of the children were in any danger from the asbestos.

In MARYSVILLE, AUSTRALIA, on March 20, 2009, residents were allowed to return to the burned-out remains of their homes for the first time since the fire on Black Saturday.

About 500 residents of the area attended a town hall meeting at the Marysville Golf Course, where a tent was constructed outside for the event.

Not only were they offered support for their loss, but they were told of the precautions required before they could sift through the rubble of their homes. Each of the residents was given a special set of coveralls, gloves, and masks to wear. These would protect them from inhaling asbestos dust released by the flames.

Before the town can be rebuilt, the asbestos dust will need to be removed and disposed of properly, but the town has plans to rebuild both the homes and the lives of its residents.

In TASMANIA, AUSTRALIA, a forum was held to discuss the current workplace plans to deal with asbestos and possible future changes to those plans to increase awareness of the dangers of this common carcinogen.

Australia’s rate of asbestos related diseases is one of the highest in the world, and that number will likely increase. That was the reason behind the Minister for Workplace Relations, Lisa Singh, calling the forum for government officials, medical professionals, union representative, and industry leaders.

The goal of the forum was to create a bridge between the knowledge gained through research and public awareness of asbestos-related diseases. Many dialogs were opened to discuss possible government policies and action that can be put into place to make workplaces safer.

According to Ms Singh, “I see this forum as an important first step in the process to review current asbestos management practices and to inform the government on future policy options regarding asbestos.”