Hazardous asbestos at market buried in vault at cemetery

The asbestos waste scattered inside the Burgos Public Market has been removed, City Engineer Allan Agbones said as shown in these photos he sent DIGICAST NEGROS.*

The hazardous asbestos waste from the Burgos Public Market roofing has been removed and will be buried in a large vault at the Handumanan Public Cemetery in Bacolod, City Engineer Allan Agbones said on Tuesday, June 7.

Engineer Edwin Acostan, a former Overseas Filipino Worker in Kuwait, reported last week that the asbestos removed from market roof was scattered inside the building and on the street outside, and was not properly disposed.

He told DIGICAST NEGROS the problem with inhalation of asbestos fiber is its effects will not be felt right away. It will take 10 years or more before it develops into lung cancer, Acostan said, adding that the workers hired by the contractor to remove the roofing should have been wearing proper protective gear.

Acostan said from what he saw the removal of the asbestos from the Burgos Public Market roof did not follow recommend procedures. The asbestos was just dropped to the ground causing it to break into dangerous debris, he said.

Agbones said the asbestos waste was removed after the attention of the contractor of the Burgos Market Rehabilitation Project was called following DIGICAST NEGROS reports last week.

The debris were cleaned up and the instructions of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources were followed, he said.

The asbestos were placed in sacks and brought to a vault that looks like a septic tank at the cemetery, he said.

The workers hauling the sacks wore raincoats to protect them from the asbestos fiber, Agbones said.

The vault has also been used for the disposal of asbestos removed from other buildings in the past, he said.

Another vault may have to be built as all of the asbestos removed from the market may not fit in the existing one, he added.

The asbestos roofing in other Bacolod markets had already been removed in the past, Agbones 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 or fibrosis of the lungs, and plaques, thickening and effusion in the pleura, it added.*

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