Removal of asbestos in Poland dragging
PR dla Zagranicy
Environmental organizations have criticized the pace of asbestos removal in Poland, claiming that around 13 million tons of the cancer-causing material are still in use today.
Asbestos roof sheeting. Photo: wikipedia
According to the Sustainable Development Foundation and the Green Federation GAJA, of the 15 million tons of asbestos in Poland twelve years ago, when a government program to remove it was launched, only 2 million tons are no longer in place.
Although the program aims to remove all asbestos from Poland by 2032, according to the organizations the current rate of progress would result in an asbestos-free Poland only by 2080 at the earliest.
In addition only 30 percent of asbestos containing products in Poland are thought to have been inventoried, meaning that it is uncertain as to where the asbestos is located.
A spokesperson for the Sustainable Development Foundation said that the slow progress is likely due to the high costs for individuals of replacing asbestos materials. While subsideis are provided to remove asbestos roof cement, there are no subsidies to subsequently repair the roof.
However Jakub Szumin, the head of the Green Federation GAJA, did note some progress. Although in 2008 only 17 percent of Poland’s 2,500 municipalities had a program to remove asbestos, currently 2,100 have such a plan.
The government has provided municipalities with around 4 billion zlotys (1 billion Euros) to encourage them to deal with asbestos problems in their areas.
Responding to the current lack of progress in actually removing asbestos the government also announced it would update its policy in 2015.
Asbestos was widely used as a building material throughout the 20th century, but has now been proven to be responsible for several illnesses including a severe form of lung cancer. (sl)