Bacolod mayor-elect Alfredo “Albee” Benitez is calling for the proper handling and disposal of hazardous asbestos removed from the Burgos Public Market roofing.
It should have been replaced a long time ago because of its hazardous nature, Benitez said Friday, June 3.
He had already noticed the asbestos in the roofing during the campaign period, Benitez said.
That is the reason why he wants to repurpose the funds for the Bacolod coliseum for the proper rehabilitation of Bacolod’s markets, Benitez said.
Benitez takes over as mayor of Bacolod from incumbent Evelio Leonardia at noon of June 30.
Engineer Edwin Acostan, a former Overseas Filipino Worker in Kuwait, on Friday expressed concern that the recent asbestos removed from the market roofing is not being properly disposed.
The contractor should be aware of how to safely handle the removal and disposal of the asbestos, Acostan said.
Acostan said he saw the asbestos waste scattered in the vegetable section of the market and on the street outside.
“The broken pieces of asbestos were just scattered around and on top of the stalls. Obviously, both the contractor, its safety officer, the supervising engineers and even the DENR are not aware of the hazard that broken asbestos pieces will cause to those who inhale their fiber,” he said.
Acostan called on the contractor, the Bacolod City Health Office, Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to look into the matter, and enforced the proper procedures for the removal, hauling and disposal of asbestos materials.
The workers should be wearing PPEs because the fibers from asbestos are very hazardous, he said.
The World Health Organization has warned that all forms of asbestos are carcinogenic to humans. Exposure to asbestos, including chrysotile, causes cancer of the lung, larynx, and ovaries, and also mesothelioma (a cancer of the pleural and peritoneal linings), WHO said.
Asbestos exposure is also responsible for other diseases such as asbestosis (fibrosis of the lungs), and plaques, thickening and effusion in the pleura, it added.
Rommel Palalon, officer-in-charge of the Environment and Natural Resources Office, said it is the responsibility of the contractor to properly dispose the asbestos.
Asbestos is hazardous and cannot just be thrown into the sanitary landfill, said Palalon, who also heads the city’s Department of Public Services.*