Sri Lanka plans asbestos roofing import ban by 2018: President


Aug 14, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s President says the government may ban importing of asbestos roofing by 2017-2018, as it generates health issues to the users.

World Health Organization has said that all types of asbestos cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, cancer of the larynx and ovary, and asbestosis (fibrosis of the lungs).

“I wanted to ban the material during the time I was health minister, but was prevented from doing so,because of the protection provided by high-ranking officials of the then Government,” President Siresena said, responding to a question raised at the Sri Lanka Ceramics Council forum saying the local tiles were facing the most competition from asbestos.

“People need quality and safe products. I hope to ban it by 2017-2018 after discussions with the cabinet.”

Asbestos is a cheaper roofing option which is one of the most expensive parts of building a house compared to wood and clay tiles.

According to WTO currently about 125 million people in the world are exposed to asbestos at the workplace.

In 2004, asbestos-related lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis from occupational exposures resulted in 107,000 deaths and 1,523,000 Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs).

In addition, several thousands of deaths can be attributed to other asbestos-related diseases, as well as to non-occupational exposures to asbestos.

President Sirisena emphasized that the present government will not encourage the people who import things into the country that can be produced locally and added that the Government will take every possible step to strengthen the local industries through a clear national policy.

“When the Government increases taxes on imported goods that can be produced in our own country, it will discourage and limit importation of those goods on one hand and strengthen the local industries on the other.”

“Under these circumstances, the local producers should fulfill their obligations by supplying high quality products to the consumers.” the President said.

He said that the local industry should come up with a better alternative for roofing with an affordable price.