Eradicating Asbestos in Vietnam

Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA

has been working in Vietnam to support the campaign to eradicate asbestos since 2010. Asian countries consume the majority of asbestos globally, but there is a renewed momentum in a range of countries towards bans within the region.

To achieve their goal, Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA has facilitated cooperation between Vietnamese and other regional governments and the Australian Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency, the world’s only standalone asbestos agency.

The project addresses the three main obstructions to a ban of all forms of asbestos: misinformation from the asbestos industry; the perceived lack of viable alternatives to asbestos as a low cost building material; and the sharing of both international evidence and credible domestic research to provide accurate and independent impact estimates to help persuade decision makers on the hazards of asbestos.

Support through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) has allowed Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA to raise awareness on the hazards of asbestos and the risks of asbestos related diseases. Training programs have helped to:

  • Increase awareness on asbestos-related occupational cancers and how to prevent them
  • Build capacity to monitor mesothelioma and other asbestos related diseases
  • Engage decision makers with a goal of changing policies, laws and regulations
  • Promote safe asbestos alternatives.

In 2018, the Prime Minister of Vietnam made a public announcement that asbestos roof sheets must be banned in all construction by 2023 at the latest. Roof sheets make up 90% of the asbestos containing materials manufactured in Vietnam.

The Vietnam Ban Asbestos Network are campaigning for a shorter time line and a comprehensive ban, however this announcement is a massive step forward for the campaign in Vietnam and across Asia.

Vietnamese workers loading asbestos roof sheet
Vietnamese workers loading asbestos roof sheet. Credit: Union Aid Abroad APHEDA.

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