By Confidente Reporter
THE Arandis Town Council has taken the lead in Namibia with an extensive roofing upgrade programme, aptly named the Arandis Roofing Project – ‘Always, on the move.’
Arandis Mayor, Risto Kapenda said the aim of the project is to have old asbestos roofs of the houses and buildings in the town replaced with zinc-aluminium roofing sheets, which is healthy and environmentally friendly.
The project is in line with the World Health Organization (WHO), joined by the International Labour Organziation (ILO) and the United Nations Environment Programme, which have called on countries throughout the world to eliminate asbestos-related diseases.
WHO advises that the best way to eliminate such diseases is to stop using all types of asbestos. Although numerous countries have adopted national asbestos bans, many others continue to use asbestos at various levels.
But the use has declined 55 percent from its historical peak of 4.7 million metric tonnes per year in 1980, but still more than two million metric tonnes per year are still being used worldwide.
WHO estimates that 107 000 global annual deaths are caused by mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer and asbestosis.
In 2005, occupational exposure to asbestos was estimated to cause 43 000 mesothelioma deaths and 7 000 deaths due to asbestosis worldwide.
Kapenda said that the Arandis Town Council is the first town in Namibia to undertake such a roof upgrade programme for houses and buildings.
He said the Arandis Roofing Project – Always, on the move is undertaken in a spirit of service excellence and smart partnership.
“The Arandis Town Council has engaged the local residents, during the past two years, through public meetings and awareness creation about possible health risks if the material is tampered with and to make the execution of the project as smooth as possible, said Kapenda
“It is the vision of the Arandis Town Council to be an independent and viable town that is known as a centre of excellence – a model town that is a platform for vital economic activity, placing its residents first, to be the town of choice to live in.
“The Arandis Town Council, with the assistance of Rössing Uranium and the Rössing Foundation, aims to have the Arandis Roofing Project carried out over a period of three years. The expected cost of N$28 million is to be borne by Rössing Uranium.
He said.“The Arandis Roofing Project is undertaken without any cost to the house owners, the residents of houses and the owners of the buildings.
“A registered and certified contractor in Namibia has been appointed to oversee the Arandis Roofing Project, namely the National Environmental Health Consultants (NEHC),” explained Kapenda.
He urged residents especially children, not to tamper with roofs, nor to interfere with contractors during the construction process.
A total of 823 houses have been identified as crucial to have their roofs replaced. This houses will be done in phase one, commencing on the 3rd of April 2018.
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