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Bulldozing to death

I WISH to refer to a recent feature on BBC news which showed clearance of housing in Zimbabwe.

I work for a housing association in London and noted that many of t

he properties being demolished had asbestos cement corrugated roofing.

These houses were being bulldozed and the persons using the bulldozers had no personal protection – for example, special masks and clothing.

I raise this because this method of clearance (bulldozing) is dangerous for the workforce and the population who were in the vicinity of the debris.

There will also be much residual contamination, which will remain a future danger.

Asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are now completely banned in Britain and there are strict regulations about how they are to be managed and when necessary removed.

People exposed to dust and debris from ACMs – like those on television – are required to undergo regular medical checks following exposure.

In Britain the use of ACMs has left a legacy of ill health and death for many. There is now a better understanding about the dangers of all types of asbestos, including asbestos cement.

I would welcome your comments and request that this information be provided to those on the ground on this project in Zimbabwe, like those featured on the report. Also that consideration be given to safe methods of removal where necessary, and the use of substitute materials in rebuilding.

Paul Blackaby,

United Kingdom.

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