DENR RELEASES GUIDELINES IN HANDLING ASBESTOS

Manila, July 25, 2003 (STAR) The Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (EMB-DENR) recently clarified the guidelines in the review and evaluation of applications for Registration of Asbestos Wastes Management Service Providers as required under Section IV, Item No. 6 of the DENR Administrative Order 2000-02, the Chemical Control Order (CCC) for asbestos. The move was done in order to have an effective implementation of the devolved functions of the Chemical Control Orders to the EMB-Regional Offices.

Asbestos is a naturally-occuring compound composed of magnesium silicates mixed with varying quantities of silicates of calcium and iron. It is a fibrous, non-combustible mineral. It has diversified commercial uses due to its resilience to heat, chemical inertness and high electrical resistance. Asbestos is used for industry and home, such as in transportation, energy, mining, hydroelectric, and industrial processes.

Its importation and manufacture, as well as the storage, transport and the disposal of their wastes are being controlled and regulated by the Philippine government, to minimize the hazards it may bring to human health and the environment.

A Waste Management Service Provider for asbestos applying for registration must have an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) specifically for Asbestos Containment Facility (ACF). An off-site disposal requires a DENR-approved sanitary landfill and or ACF to support the application. However, on-site storage and disposal of dismantled asbestos wastes are allowed as long as there exists a memorandum of agreement between the provider and the generators, who must notiffy the regional office concerned for an amendment of their ECC incorporation the sites for asbestos wastes.

The applicant must also have the safety equipment necessary to carry out asbestos abatement, with verification on their existence to be done by the EMB office concerned. For the security and protection of the asbestos handlers and the general public, concerned personnel must pass the appropriate formal training for asbestos handling, storage and disposal, which shall form as part of the documentation requirements prior to approval of application.

Asbestos service providers must also be guided by established protocols for the demolition, removal, handling and disposal of asbestos. In the absence of comprehensive guidelines, the protocols of other countries such as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Guidelines of the United States may be adopted.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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