New asbestos discovered after a hospital fire in Solomon Islands has sparked a call for a Pacific-wide ban on the toxic substance.
The call from the regional environmental body SPREP comes because the Gizo hospital in the Western Solomons had been cleared of old asbestos in a regional study conducted prior to the fire.
Local inspectors however identified asbestos materials at the site in the aftermath of the fire on the 22nd of July.
This was confirmed by experts from the Pacific Hazardous Waste Management Project (PacWaste) who helped to clear the site.
The team identified new building materials used in recent renovations at the hospital as the most likely source of the contamination.
PacWaste project manager Stewart Williams told Koroi Hawkins the cost of cleaning up old asbestos in the region is already daunting without more being imported.