Pacific islands vote to ban asbestos

28 Sep 2017 by under News

GHS pictogram silhouette.svg  100x100 Pacific islands vote to ban asbestosLast week the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) endorsed a proposal to ban in the Pacific —a boon to the anti- movement after the failure to list asbestos on the hazardous substances list at the Rotterdam Convention this year.

Twenty-one Pacific islands and five metropolitan members of SPREP endorsed the proposal, which was sponsored by Cook Islands and co-sponsored by Tonga and Australia, according to ONE Papau New Guinea. “The Cook Islands is extremely pleased with the decision of the SPREP Meeting,” said Director of the Cook Islands National Environment Service, Joseph Brider. “We believe that it reaffirms that the Pacific islands are truly united in our shared stewardship of the region and our commitment towards a sustainable future.”

The news source explains members were apprehensive about implementing the proposal, but the resourcing, capacity and monitoring  issues were addressed thanks in part to new funding from the European Union (EU).

The EU previously funded PacWaste, a $9.36 million project implemented by SPREP to improve hazardous waste management in the region and determine the extent of asbestos contamination. The survey found 187,000 square meters of non-residential asbestos contamination in 11 Pacific island countries and evidence of new asbestos-containing buildings being imported. Some of the funds to implement the ban will be from a follow-up project called PacWaste Plus.

“We welcome this decision from Pacific Island nations to work towards joining 59 other countries, including all member states of the European Union, to ban asbestos,” Head of Cooperation at the European Union Delegation for the Pacific Christoph Wagner said. “It’s a fantastic outcome for the health and wellbeing of communities across the Pacific region, and a pleasing endorsement of the work undertaken through PacWaste and planned for PacWaste Plus.”


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