The University of Guyana Turkeyen campus may be closer to normal operation since, according to reports reaching this newspaper, the asbestos tests have been completed and the results have revealed that the presence of asbestos in the university buildings are of a negligible percentage.
However, reports are that the results are yet to be studied by the Ministry of Education, which is expected to host a press conference today to disclose the findings.
The contracting firm, A & E Consultancy, had conducted air tests and subsequently fibre tests to determine whether the buildings were safe.
This newspaper understands that in order to determine the safety level of the buildings, the fibres had to amount to 0.05 per cm3 which is the standard limit of asbestos in the atmosphere.
Reports are that the consultancy firm has been able to deduce that the asbestos level in the university buildings is just below the recommended limit.
But though the results suggest that things could be returning to some level of normalcy, reports are that subsequent tests may have to be carried out.
According to a technical official on the university’s Asbestos Committee, while it is not definite that subsequent tests will be allowed, it is a standard procedure for verification tests to be conducted.
The official additionally pointed out that the subsequent tests do not in any way mean that the contracting firm’s test results were not accurate, but noted that standard quality management tests should be just as compulsory as the initial tests.
Meanwhile, staffers of the university are yet to receive word on whether the non-asbestos buildings on the campus will undergo air tests.
Another member of the technical committee, Mr Melvin Sankies, related that up to yesterday there was no word as to whether the tests will in fact be done.
It was relayed to this newspaper that there was an agreement at the level of the Ministry of Education and the University’s administration that there was need for the asbestos free buildings to be tested as well since the situation was deemed a health hazard.
However, Mr Sankies, who is also a member of the Faculty of Technology, along with other faculty members had been made aware that the Government’s Technical Director for the asbestos removal project, Mr Walter Willis, had disclosed that no testing will be done to establish that the other buildings would be safe to operate in.
The buildings of most concern, he had noted, were the Faculty of Technology, the Bursary, the Law Department and the Personnel Department, which according to him were not sealed off during the asbestos removal process.
Mr Sankies disclosed yesterday though that he was informed that the Vice Chancellor and a specially selected team of officials are expected to visit the buildings possibly to inspect the current condition.
And according to President of the University of Guyana Student Society and member of the Asbestos committee, Jason Benjamin, who is expected to be a part of the visiting team, there is still need for the walls and the floors of the buildings to be painted and lacquered to reduce any possible risk factors.
Benjamin explained that at the moment the buildings are calm but noted that vibrations that could result when they are occupied could release suppressed fibres into the atmosphere, a situation which could prove to be life threatening.
He added that even the pieces of asbestos materials which may have fallen in the open campus could also prove to be a risky situation.
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