ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka may ban asbestos by 2017-2018, as it is a suspected cancer causing substance, a media report quoting President Maithripala Sirisena, a former health minister said.
Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror newspaper said President Sirisena had wanted to ban the material during the time he was health minister, but was prevented by doing so.
"But I hope to after discussions with the cabinet to ban it by 2017-2018," he was quoted as saying to the Sri Lanka Ceramics Council, an industry body.
Asbestos is however a cheaper roofing alternative to homeless people as it required lower levels of wood than clay tiles. Roofing is one of the most expensive parts of building a house.
The Daily Mirror said the President was responding to a question by a ceramics industry official who said local tiles were facing the most competition from asbestos.
The ceramics industry has already made tiles extremely expensive with import duties and has made defecation also expensive by putting up import duties of toilets fitting to earn bigger profits, by using the taxation system to limit competition, critics say.
According to the World Health Organization, asbestos is harmful most for people who work in the asbestos industry.
Russia and China are the biggest exporters of asbestos, with Western countries phasing out the industry amid lawsuits and restrictions.