8.5.3.2.asbestosMaldivesBrief Technical Guide: Asbestos

A brief guide to safer handling of asbestos in emergencies

Project dates: May 2007 - November 2009

"...the most efficient way to eliminate asbestos-related diseases is to stop the use of all types of asbestos" and to "take measures to prevent exposure to asbestos in place and during asbestos removal." (WHO, Elimination of asbestos-related diseases, September 2006)

After an emergency, shelter practitioners may have to deal with large quantities of hazardous waste including asbestos. In certain parts of the world, awareness of asbestos and the associated health risks is low; specialist handling and disposal facilities may not be available. This can have a negative impact on affected communities involved in clean-up operations.

Available construction materials such as roofing sheets frequently contain asbestos and these products are commonly used in some countries. Use of new asbestos products perpetuates the problem for affected communities in the long term. The presence of asbestos may not be easy to detect as companies have been known to issue fake certificates; and testing facilities are not always available. Shelter specialists are likely come under pressure to use asbestos containing materials, often considered locally to be the best available option.

This guide addresses these issues and provides practical advice for shelter specialists and other humanitarian workers confronted with asbestos in emergencies. It highlights key points and further references to help minimise the risk associated with dealing with existing asbestos products from damaged buildings and avoid the use of asbestos products for reconstruction.

Download the Brief Technical Guide and the accompanying training module

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8.5.3.1.buildingWasteShriLankaBrief Technical Guide: Building Waste

A brief guide to building waste management in emergencies

Project dates: May 2007 - November 2009

"..the re-use of materials salvaged from damaged buildings should be promoted where feasible either as primary construction materials (bricks or stone masonry, roof timber, roof tiles, etc.) or as secondary material (rubble for foundations or levelling roads, etc.)." (SPHERE Shelter and Settlement, Standard 5 : Construction, Guidance note 1, 2004)

Waste from demolition, reconstruction and rehabilitation of damaged buildings is one of the most voluminous types of waste generated by a disaster. Building waste has the potential to be a valuable resource if properly managed, as it can often be reused and recycled. Shelter practitioners can have an active role in reducing negative impacts of disaster waste and reconstruction.

This guide outlines the basic principles of disaster waste management as well as some specific examples for reuse and recycling of building waste.

Download the Brief Technical Guide and the accompanying training module

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