Need to boost the implementation of roadmap for elimination of asbestos in Vietnam

Posted at: SATurday - 01/04/2017 01:08 - post name: Cộng tác viên

 
Need to boost the implementation of roadmap for elimination of asbestos in Vietnam

On March 16th 2017, in Hanoi, the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA) cooperated with Non-governmental Organization -Information Center (NGOIC) to hold the seminar “Roadmap for elimination of asbestos in Vietnam by 2020 and international commitments”.

Asbestos is the material used for producing products of roofing sheets, drainage pipes, insulation partition, covers for heat resistant equipment and brake pads.Most of asbestos volume in Vietnam is used in producing fibre cement sheets, the remain is mixed in producing brake pads for heavy-duty vehicles, boiler insulation materials, and steam pipelines. Color asbestos has been banned in many countries all over the world and has not been circulated over the past 20 years. White asbestos is now the only asbestos fiber commercially consumed in the market.

In accordance with figures given at the seminar, asbestos is the most dangerous occupational carcinogen which is estimated to cause 50% of the deaths due to occupational carcinogen all over the world. International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) affiliated to World Health Organization (WHO) has collected sufficient evidence on human and empirically testing to rank all types of asbestos in the first group of cancer-causing carcinogens to human. International Labor Organization (ILO) and Ministry of Health of Vietnam also have the same opinion. According to figure of WHO, economic value resulted from producing asbestos in 2008 was USD802 million, meanwhile cost of disease treatment due to asbestos was USD2.4 billion (triple times). Therefore, elimination of asbestos is the most effective solution to prevent asbestos-related diseases.

 

Mr. Phillip Hezelton, the coordinator of campaign on elimination of asbestos-related diseases, Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA, said asbestos have been banned in 60 countries so far, and Canada-one of the countries using asbestos the most across the world will be included in this list by 2018.

Vietnam always ranks in top ten countries consuming the most asbestos in the world. Most of asbestos used for domestic demand is imported from foreign countries, the average asbestos consumption is around 60,000 tonnes/year.

Depty Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai gave comments directed at Official Letter No. 7307/VPCP-KGVX dated September 19th 2014 requesting ministries, sectors to enhance the examination, supervision on white asbestos production and roadmap for stopping the use of asbestos by 2020. Previously, in accordance with Decision No. 1469/QĐ-TTg dated August 22th 2014 approving master plan on development of construction materials in Vietnam until 2020 and orientation to 2030, the Prime Minister requested ministries, sectors to enhance the examination, supervision on production of white asbestos, gradually use alternative fibers and develop roadmap for elimination of white asbestos in producing roofing materials, and meet criteria of hygiene and environment.

Dr. Phan Tung Mau, Vice President of VUSTA said the Official Letter No 731/LHHVN-TCCB submitted to Prime Minister on October 6th 2014 stating recommendations of social organizations which contribute to national action plan on eliminating asbestos-related diseases, support guideline of the Government on roadmap for stopping production of asbestos. However, the plan of implementing this guideline has been in process of drafting.

In accordance with Mr. Mau, this seminar aims to make bad impacts of asbestos to people’s life clearer, find alternative materials, disseminate information so that the people can understand better about bad impacts of asbestos, thereby stop using asbestos and products made from it.

At the seminar, Dr. Do Quoc Quang, former Director of Information Institute, Ministry of Industry and Trade gave information about some projects producing non-asbestos roofing sheets for testing at State level. However, in accordance with Mr. Quang, although the State had guideline of stopping the use of asbestos, Vietnam Roofing Slate Association still kept its viewpoint of using asbestos longer and stably. In addition, information about non-asbestos products now remain untransparent (sustainability, technology capacity, price etc.) and the cooperation among research agencies, producers, management authorities, policy makers, communication and public opinion remains inappropriate.

Speaking at the seminar, experts said that it is necessary to implement roadmap for elimination of asbestos strictly by 2020 with specific action plan.

Dr. Tran Tuan, Director of Research and Training Centre for Community Development, member of VN-BAN Action Standing Committee said that the 8th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Convention (COP7) will take place in May 2017 in Geneva, Swiss, groups of social organizations need assign representatives to attend and contribute actively so that Vietnam will not be listed in “unhygienic” group as stated by international media at COP7 (2015). Mr. Tuan also requested the outcomes obtained by Vietnam delegation joining COP8 must be transparent and the domestic media should publicize information honestly.

Author: Linh Ngoc
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