Jinja. Mwiri Primary School, one of the oldest schools in Busoga Sub-region, is seeking at least Shs300m to remove the asbestos roofs on various dormitories, classrooms and teachers’ houses and replace it with iron sheets due to the health risks they pose.
According to health experts, lung and mesothelioma cancers are associated with asbestos exposure.
The Old Boys who completed their Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) in 1987, have since intervened and collected Shs10m, which can purchase about 73 iron sheets and 17 ridges.
“We engaged the prime minister when he visited in October 2014 and he wrote to the Education minister notifying her of our application for an emergency grant for the cause. On May 17 we wrote to the prime minister informing him that no action had been taken and we are waiting for his response,” Mr Alex Isabirye, the headmaster of the school said.
In September 2014 the then minister for Education, Ms Jessica Alupo, announced that government had secured a $100m loan (about Shs370b) from the World Bank, to facilitate the renovation and re-equipment of 293 traditional primary schools across the country as part of President Museveni’s plan to make them competitive enough to offer quality education.
However, the Education ministry spokesperson, Mr Aggrey Kibenge, on Wednesday said the loan was meant for construction of new schools and expanding those that did not have adequate buildings.
He said a total of 138 schools were constructed with the said money.
Mr Kibenge blamed the ministry’s delayed intervention in helping Mwiri Primary School on financial constraints.
“We have ever given them some assistance, the money allocated to the Emergency Construction Project is usually not enough but now that the budgeting process is about to begin we shall see what to do,” he said.
The mineral. Asbestos is a group of minerals that occur naturally as bundles of fibres. These fibres are found in soil and rocks in many parts of the world. They are made mainly of silicon and oxygen, but they also contain other elements.
Types. There are two types of asbestos: Chrysotile asbestos, also known as white asbestos, which is the most common type in industrial applications and amphibole asbestos fibres’ which is straight and needle-like. In the 19th century, asbestos was commonly used because of its desirable physical properties such as being non-flammable mineral, acid resistant, flexible, and sound absorbent.
Dangers. According to World Health Organisation, exposure to asbestos causes different types of cancer, especially that of the lung, larynx, ovaries, and mesothelioma.