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Statement on urgency and importance of ban of asbestos containing materials in Ukraine

23 May 2022

Considering the difficult situation in the country with the damaged infrastructure and municipal and social facilities resulting from Russia invasion, Ukraine has faced a serious problem with large amount of construction waste and debris to be fast resolved for the country rehabilitation and renovation. As almost 30% of all objects may potentially have asbestos-containing materials (ACM) and in rural areas this content might amount to up to 60%, safe handling of hazardous waste should be carefully managed by authorities.

Asbestos-containing materials are widely used in Ukraine as a roof cover material in both public and private sectors. The damages and rehabilitation works may result in significant health risks to workers of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine and private persons, who will work with dismantling of damaged buildings and infrastructure objects.

Asbestos, being proved as a cancerogenic material, is considered and evidenced as hazardous material and its use is widely banned in the world, including European Union countries. Therefore, special procedures and technics must be applied during the work with asbestos containing materials and waste.

Our long-term Austrian partner CES clean energy solutions with the more than 20 years international experience of work in the asbestos abatement industry and iC consulenten in Ukraine have worked together in recent years to increase awareness about risks of asbestos within Ukrainian rehabilitation and energy efficiency projects. Together we support Ukrainian authorities on their way to the full ban of asbestos in Ukraine and introduction of Best Industry Practices rules and methods for asbestos containing materials treatment procedures.  Andreas Helbl, the general director of iC consulenten Ukraine, in his interview to the InterFax (In sustainable construction, the use of recycled materials gives the building extra points and increases the company’s rating (interfax.com.ua) in Autumn 2021 already shared his professional opinion on possible health risks related to asbestos exposure and described potential opportunities for the construction market to adopt to future changes related to the ban of asbestos use.

However, Ukraine is still in the process of adaptation of legislation on asbestos ban and treatment. Understanding that a lot of work has been done, we fully support the effort of Ukrainian authorities to adapt Ukrainian legislation in the field of asbestos treatment in line with EU standards. Ukraine took responsibility to harmonize its legislation by 30 October 2021 in line with the EU Directive 2009/148/EC on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work (according to the Annex XL to Chapter 21 “Cooperation on Employment, Social Policy and Equal Opportunities” Title V “Economic and Sector Cooperation” of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement), which prohibits the use of all types of asbestos and asbestos-containing products in the EU.

With regard to this, we would like to express our full support on the performed work of the Working Group of the Committee on Public Health, Medical Assistance and Medical Insurance of the Verkhovna Rada and the adoption of the Draft Law “On the Public Health System” in February 2021 in the first reading. This Law was developed to fulfil international obligations on tackling the problem of asbestos exposure on human health, as well as to prevent any uncontrolled handling of asbestos-containing materials and waste, which may result in its emissions into the air – as inhale of asbestos fiber cause the highest human health risk.

In addition, to support green and sustainable development in the waste treatment and management sector, including the introduction of fare and clear rules on management of hazardous materials, it is crucial to adopt in the second reading the bill #2207-1D “On Waste Management”, which introduces European approach to waste management and presents key fundamental ideas to establish a circular economy.

It shall be shared understanding of urgency and importance of the asbestos ban and introduction of professional treatment procedures in Ukraine. Therefore, we fully support the governmental initiatives and work towards harmonization of Ukrainian legislation in line with the EU norms and standards. Ukraine is currently at the turnaround chance to implement only best international standards that will reduce risks for workers and people, minimize negative impacts on the environment and open up the market for new investments for cleaner and more sustainable materials and technologies.

 

iC consulenten LLC and CES clean energy solutions

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