The National Housing Authority (NHA) has set June 2013 as the deadline for removing all Asbestos roofings from all houses in Rwanda.
Asbestos is a natural mineral well known for being fire and noise resistant, but whose fibers are said to be hazardous to human health, they cause diseases like lung cancer, when one inhales them.
In an interview with the RHA Director General Esther Mutamba, she said that her Institution is in a massive awareness campaign telling the public how Asbestos fibers are dangerous to human health.
They have also trained various private companies and Government institutions on how professionally Asbestos cement roofing’s can be removed safely without causing any risk to human beings.
In Rwanda, various government buildings, including hospitals and schools, have roofs made of asbestos.
The Ministry of Infrastructure, conducted a study last year on how to safely remove the asbestos roofing materials from government buildings and it was determined to cost rwf14 billion at the end of the campaign.
The government had, in 2009, set a six-month ultimatum for the removal of the material but later extended it, following the complexity of the process and the need for funding.
Every district had allocated a dumping site for the materials. Oldest buildings are targeted first due to the dangers they pose.
In the whole country, the houses that have asbestos on them occupy a total of 21, 000, 000 square meters.
Kigali city comes first with 41.55 percent, followed by the Southern Province with 32.88 percent. The western province comes third, while the Eastern and Northern Provinces follow each other respectively.
RHA has also set pace in total eradication of all building materials containing Asbestos from entering the country or even taking such building materials to neighboring countries via Rwanda.
Rwanda will be the first country in Africa to get rid of Asbestos. Other countries that have successful carried out the exercise include Canada and Japan.