‘Give clear picture on Asbestos ban’ | Daily News


‘Give clear picture on Asbestos ban’

Anton Edema  Picture by Saliya Rupasinghe
Anton Edema Picture by Saliya Rupasinghe


Asbestos sheet manufactures are asking for a clear message from the government on whether the ban on the manufacturers and use of asbestos sheet was still in force.

“However due to reasons best known to the government and political developments between Russia and Sri Lanka the government said that the ‘ban’ was temporary lifted,” said Coordinator of the Fibre Cement Products Manufacturers Association, Anton Edema.

He claimed that without a proper study being done legislation was passed to ban the manufacture of Asbestos from January 1, 2018. However an alternative solution was not provided for the roofing needs of the people by the government until now. He told ‘Daily News Business’ that sheet manufactures and over 200,000 people who are direct and indirect benefited from the Asbestos industry is now in a quandary with regard to this ban.

Edema said the industry needs huge investments and the maintenance of machinery too is very expensive. “Hence the manufactures too want a ‘clear’ policy form the government with regard to this ban. We are asking the government to do a proper study once again and come up with clear solution.”

He said that today Russia is the main market for ‘asbestos fiber’, the main raw material and over 2% of Russia’s annual fiber exporters are to Sri Lanka. In the manufacturing process of a sheet 92% is from cement and 6% to 7% are used as a binding agent.

Edema said that Asbestos is being used in Sri Lanka for over 70 years and first they were imported from England. Later Sri Ramco started manufacturing them locally and today there are four leading players. “Over 3,000 employees are involved in the manufacturing process and none of them have developed cancer or any other health related disease so far. End users too have not had any health hazards.”

Today over 60% of local roofing needs are met by Asbestos and use of it saves wood and also construction cost and is also a preferred housing option for poor and middle class. It is also fire resistant. Edima said that there are six types of Asbestos sheets used in the world and some types are banned. 


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