Despite the announcement made by President Maithripala Sirisena that stern laws will be imposed on asbestos and a complete ban is to be enforced on the production and importation of asbestos by 2018, the relevant authorities seem to have not yet been given any directive as to how the government intends to enforce the ban.
When contacted by The Nation regarding specific details about steps being taken to reduce the importation of asbestos, the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) Information Director Chandrika said that the CAA did not have any specific details as such and went on to explain about the quality standards and other related requirements when selling asbestos. Secretary to the Ministry of Environment and Mahaweli Development, Nihal Rupasinghe, meanwhile, suggested that the The Nation speak to Secretary to the State Ministry of Environment W.M. Vajira Narampanawa. However, Narampanawa, proved unavailable.
When the President expressed the governments’ intention to ban asbestos by 2018, it was also revealed that although he had plans to impose the ban when he was the Health Minister it did not materialize since no one backed his decision. The main reason for the banning of importation and local production of asbestos is that it has been proved that it asbestos cause cancer.
Around the world, 60 countries including the European Union, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, and New Zealand have banned asbestos wholly or partly. International law categorizes asbestos as controlled waste.