Asbestos inspectors comb through gutted ruins of 650 Garden Route homes

Many residents lost everything in the fires that raged through the coastal towns of Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. Photo: Deneesha Pillay/The Herald

After the fires‚ the latest deadly threat facing the people of the Garden Route is asbestos.

The risk of asbestos contamination at 650 fire-damaged structures around Knysna is being assessed by inspectors‚ Eden district waste management officer Johan Gie said on Tuesday.

Inspected sites will be marked either with an “A” sign‚ warning of the presences of asbestos‚ or with an “F” indicating they are asbestos free.

Gie said no material containing asbestos should be “collected‚ handled‚ transported and disposed of by any person or contractor other than a suitably qualified‚ authorised and approved person or organisation”.

The most common asbestos-containing materials are asbestos cement products in roofing material‚ ceiling and floor tiles‚ insulation and water pipes‚ tanks and gutters.

Cape Town accounting firm Moore Stephens is sponsoring the cost of the asbestos assessment‚ which began on Thursday.

The municipality issued the following advice:

* Don’t disturb the soil contaminated with asbestos;

* Never create dust in an environment with suspected contamination;

* Never grind‚ sand‚ file or smash material that may be a part of an asbestos product;

* Don’t dig in potential asbestos-contaminated areas;

* Keep the surface of a contaminated area damp until the asbestos-containing material is removed by an approved service provider; and

* Report any suspected asbestos-containing material or contamination to Morton Hubbe‚

Claire Keeton, HeraldLIVE