The Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment has decided to impose a ban on the import, sale, distribution and use of asbestos (in corrugated and non-corrugated sheets, tiles and insulators) as per a provision in the Environment Protection Act, 1999.
MoSTE announced the decision by publishing a notice in Section 64, Part 5 of the Nepal Gazette on December 22. The decision will automatically come into effect from the 181st day of the publication of the notice. It, however, stated that the ban would not be applicable to asbestos lining of brake shoe and clutch plate used in motor vehicles reports The Himalayan Times online.
According to Section 7 (3) of the Act, if it appears that the use of any type of substance, fuel, tool or device has caused or is likely to cause significant adverse impact on the environment, the MoSTE may, by a notification in the Nepal Gazette, forbid the use of such substance, fuel, tool or device.
“Using asbestos has been discouraged in Nepal,as the World Health Organisation has stated that exposure to asbestos can cause cancer,” said Jaya Ram Lamichhane, ex-president of the Federation of Contractors’ Association of Nepal. “Asbestos is largely used in roofing in Nepal and is mostly used in traditional buildings.”
The Centre for Public Health and Environmental Development, an NGO, which has been lobbying to ban asbestos, welcomed the government’s move and said it would help protect human health, as well as environment from negative consequences of asbestos. According to CEPHED, records at the Department of Customs show that Nepal imported about 1,195 tonnes of asbestos for use in construction work in the fiscal year 2012-13 itself.