Asbestos removal training for locals

NUKU’ALOFA – February 10: 2.14pm (R2R Media): Training on the removal and replacement of Asbestos-Contaminated Construction Material (ACM) in selected sites in Tonga was held at the Tanoa Dateline International Hotel here in Nuku’alofa this morning.

The training was facilitated by Mr Kyriakos Chomatas and Mr Giannis Kondylis of Polyeco S.A, who are on contract with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) to help carry out the removal and replacement of ACMs in Tonga.

Facilitators Mr Giannis Kondylis (5th from left) and Mr Kyriakos Chomatas (middle) with local participants at the asbestos training earlier today. Photo: R2R MEDIA

The contractors are working with the Ministry of Meteorology, Information, Energy, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications (MEIDECC).

Attending the training were workers of local company Cabella, who will be working on the removal and replacement of ACMs at the identified sites.

One of the major site will be the Prince Wellington Ngu Hospital in Neiafu, Vava’u.

Speaking to R2R Media today, Mr Kondylis said the training will help participants understand what asbestos is and the danger it poses, along with steps on how they can be removed.

“This is important before they go out and do the work,” he said.

He confirmed that both he and Mr Chomatas will be here in Tonga until the asbestos related work are completed.

Earlier in the week, the two consultants met with the Chief Executive Officer of MEIDECC, Mr Paula Ma’u, and reps from the Ministry of Health and Waste Authority Ltd.

Mr Ma’u confirmed at the consultation meeting that the asbestos removal and replacement work is being funded by the European Union through SPREP and coordinated by the MEIDECC and other stakeholders.

MEIDECC’s Filimone Lapaoo and participants at the asbestos training at the Tanoa Dateline international Hotel earlier today. Photo: R2R MEDIA

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