- The Department of Education attributes the delay to large sections of toxic substances that first need to be decontaminated.
The removal of asbestos from schools and institutes in the province, one of the promises made by the Ministry of Education when the current administators first came to power in mid-2015, has once again been delayed until next summer.
Of the 73 schools and educational centres in the province found to have levels of asbestos, “45 have had the substance removed,” according to Education.
Five years on, therefore, the removal of asbestos in 28 schools is still pending, 38% of the total, the reason for which is said to be that they all have large areas of toxic substances that first need to be decontaminated.
Work on some of the buildings will take more than a month to complete and they cannot be worked upon while the students are in school. As such there is not enough time during either the Christmas or the Summer holidays to complete the work outstanding so it has been scheduled to take place during the summer school holidays, at which time there will be no students in the centres.
Neighborhood representatives say that they regret this new delay and argue that “since the beginning of 2016 we have been denouncing the presence of asbestos in a significant number of schools that all have this serious construction problem, as well as demanding its urgent removal”, according to spokesman José María Hernández.
He said that “every past summer they have made the same excuse to justify themselves and they do absolutely nothing. There are quite a few companies in Spain, specialists in the dismantling and treatment of asbestos, which means that it could have all been removed at the same time over just one summer, by using a number of different companies at the same time”.
“There are no longer any “excuses” because “we are referring to the health of the people who work in the schools, the teachers and the students, who breathe the air in those buildings and therefore they are slowly and silently being poisoned by asbestos dust that is being released by environmental aging from the roofing plates and fibre cement pipes installed outdoors. It is a National Disgrace.”