News - Apr 13, 2023 Tuvalu Progresses Asbestos Ban Regulation
Tuvalu is one step closer to banning the importation of asbestos.
The Department of Waste Management (DWM) utilised the expertise of PacWaste Plus staff, Mr Lance Richman and Ms Hilary Boyes, supported by consultant Ms. Samantha O’Callaghan of HIBBS Australia, during a recent Mission to Tuvalu by arranging key stakeholder consultation sessions to discuss and seek support to progress the proposed regulation to ban the import of asbestos.
Awareness sessions included a meeting with the Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government and Agriculture, and an awareness workshop with key stakeholders including the Attorney General’s Office, Department of Customs, Private Sector Importers, and the Tuvalu National Private Sector Organisation (TNPSO). The Minister of Local Government and Agriculture also attended this session.
Key discussion at this workshop included the presence of asbestos exiting in Tuvalu, the activities DWMs are undertaking now and in the future to address asbestos, and the impact a ban would have on the private sector.
One importer states they would be no impact on their operations. “Asbestos does not seem to be available anymore through our suppliers, I doubt we could purchase it even if we wanted to. There are also readily available and familiar alternatives, like HardiFlex a building material suitable for Tuvalu’s climate. We would support an importation ban to ensure that other suppliers or private households are also not using asbestos suppliers”.
Communities in Tuvalu also supports the proposed asbestos importation ban. “During past awareness sessions on waste management held throughout Tuvalu, the community often has questions on asbestos”, says Siliako Letueti, DWM Communications Officer.
“They seek to remove the risk asbestos has on their families and support a proposed importation ban”.
As a result of awareness sessions and feedback, the DWM, with PacWastePlus assistance developed a paper for the Government Advisory Committee. This paper was tabled in March 2023 and presented by the Director of Waste Management, Epu Falenga.