The County Government of Nakuru has embarked on a major environmental clean-up exercise in the building industry by removing asbestos roofing in hospitals and residential building due to their health hazard.
The County Public Health Officer, Samuel King’ori said in the past, the asbestos roofing were considered ideal building materials, and they gained prominence in the 1970s and 80s because they were fire-resistant and durable.
Speaking during a press conference at his office, King’ori said due to the expenses and delicate nature of handling the asbestos material the County is first beginning with public building such as hospitals before moving to residential areas.
However, he said the health risk of asbestos roofing was only during renovation and in drinking rainwater from such roofs, which he said already the County has created awareness among residents on how to avoid exposing themselves to health dangers of the material.
He said the health conditions attributed to poor handling of asbestos material, include lung cancer, scarring and inflammation, but as long as they are not touched the health effects were minimal.
According to the Legal Notice No 121 of Environmental Management and Coordination, Waste Management Regulations 2006, any waste containing asbestos is classified as hazardous waste. In addition, the Legal notice requires that hazardous waste be disposed- off in a specific manner as approved by the regulating authority.
King’ori confirmed that the County was abiding with all the specifications with and the requirements of the National Environmental Management Authority obligations.
Residents of Kimathi Estate, which is one of the oldest in the town, said they welcomed the removal of the hazardous asbestos roofing, and they have never drunk or used rainwater from the roofs since they had been warned of its effects.
By Veronica Bosibori