Asbestos Phase-out in Rwanda
On April 15, 2011, Rwanda's Ministry of Infrastructure announced plans to spend the equivalent of $24 million to remove asbestos roofing from public buildings due to the potential hazard it poses to building users and workers.1 The work will be carried out as part of a rolling program which will begin with the oldest buildings. Speaking on behalf of the Government, Marie Claire Mukasine, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure, said that the action being taken to tackle the country's asbestos legacy was agreed following the completion of a feasibility study:
"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."
According to one media report, asbestos was banned in Rwanda in 2010; attempts are being made to confirm this prohibition. It would not, however, be surprising if this was in fact the case as the Government had in 2009 set a 6 month deadline for the removal of asbestos from the national infrastructure;2 this deadline was later extended due to the complexity of the process and the need for funding. Following the statement of intent issued by the Government (2009), a feasibility study was undertaken to quantify the extent of the contamination. Additionally, a team of experts was convened to provide advice on the most effective and safest measures for dealing with the country's asbestos problem.
April 15, 2011
2 Kazan-Allen L. Tackling Asbestos Contamination in India and Rwanda. March 30, 2010.