News - Jun 6, 2022 2022 Asbestos Safety and Management Conference

Participants of the 2022 Asbestos Safety and Management Conference in Australia were informed that a survey conducted across 13 Pacific Island countries estimated that there was 187,891m2 of non-residential asbestos in-situ and an estimated 78 percent was confirmed as a high or moderate risk to human health.

The PacWastePlus programme was represented by the Programme Manager, Mr Bradley Nolan at the Conference which was co-hosted by Blue Mountains City Council and the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency in Australia.

The event had a special focus on front-line asbestos safety management, comprised of a 2-day conference from 19-20 May, including a series of plenary sessions, workshops, and networking activities, as well as optional pre-conference activities held on 18 May. The conference was a hybrid event, offering delegates the opportunity to either attend in-person or through Livestream.

The conference contained a mixture of plenary, panel, and breakout sessions relevant to government and non-government organisations in the broader asbestos management system. Delegates heard from leaders and experts in the asbestos management industry who shared insightful case studies aimed at providing updates on compliance requirements, presenting new research and initiatives, and outlining the challenges ahead.

An in-depth presentation was provided by Mr Nolan on how the PacWastePlus programme is working towards asbestos-containing materials management & elimination in Pacific Island countries & Timor-Leste.

The leaders and high-level delegates of 15 participating countries of the PacWastePlus programme have, as part of SPREP annual regional meetings in 2017, 2018 and 2021 noted the threat posed by asbestos to Pacific Island communities,” highlighted Mr Nolan.

These leaders endorsed the development and implementation of a Pacific-wide ban on the importation, re-use and re-sale of products and wastes containing asbestos and directed SPREP to progress work on the development and implementation of such a ban,” he further added during his presentation.

In 2021 the SPREP meeting of officials endorsed the PacWastePlus developed asbestos management legislative reform pathway that is derived from the asbestos management code of practice and policy note to ban the importation of asbestos-containing materials and support progress towards its adoption by members.

Our PacWastePlus programme is assisting several Pacific Island countries including Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Tonga and Tuvalu to undertake asbestos abatement projects or asbestos assessment projects,” said the PacWastePlus programme manager.

Mr Nolan provided a brief overview of the various country and regional project activities on asbestos that the PacWastePlus programme has committed to implement over the remaining programme term.

This event provided an ideal opportunity to network with like-minded people within the industry, exchange ideas and learn from one another and form new partnerships,” stated Mr Nolan.

The conference brought stakeholders together that enabled the exchange of experiences and expertise, creating an environment where collaborative plans of action and solutions could be developed and progressed.