State and local council to replace asbestos roofs in the line of fire from Gaza

Boasting a front-yard garden of potted plants and palm fronds, an otherwise pastoral cottage in the heart of Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha threatens the lungs of those who enter – following the collapse of its asbestos roof under rocket fire.

Chunks of asbestos and netting materials hang down in the rooms of the house, the result of a July 17 rocket strike on the western Negev kibbutz, located in the Eshkol regional just east of southern Gaza’s Khan Yunis.

Home with asbestos in Ein Hashlosha damaged by Gaza rocket. (credit: SHARON UDASIN)

While the roof in this house collapsed due to a direct hit, hundreds of other residences in the Gazan perimeter region likewise feature asbestos shingles and remain similarly vulnerable.

A silicate mineral fiber once popular in roofing and insulation, among other purposes, prolonged exposure to asbestos can cause diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma.

“Gaza perimeter residents are facing the danger of mortar fire and in many cases, as a result of damage, asbestos roofs are becoming a dangerous threat,” Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz said. “I informed the regional council that with the goal of protecting the residents from the threat of asbestos, we will prepare a joint program with all the relevant bodies in order to replace the asbestos roofs in hundreds of houses along the front line of the Gaza perimeter communities.”

The Prevention of Asbestos Hazards and Hazardous Dust Law (2011) enabled the evacuation of asbestos in the Western Galilee, half financed by the Environmental Protection Ministry and half by the polluter. But no such protocols exist for asbestos evacuation in other areas of the country.  Continue reading at JPost.com…

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