Street art used in fight vs. asbestos

Published by rudy Date posted on May 15, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – On Anda Street in the old walled city of Intramuros in Manila, 10 teams of “graffiti crews” battled it out on Saturday in a street art contest to raise awareness about the dangers of asbestos to human health.

The battle, dubbed the Asbestos Street Fighters Street Art Competition, gathered street artists and anti-asbestos activists in a campaign to spread information about asbestos.

“We recognize the power and dynamism of this art form, which brings fresh and powerful messages, much appreciated by the young and old alike,” said Noel Colina, Executive Director of the Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development (IOHSAD).

The group initiated the project to commemorate Workers Memorial Day (WMD) 2011.

“We intend to maximize the dynamism of street art to package the message that death via asbestos remains a threat lingering among the human population,” he added.

The competition, with the theme “Asbestos Kills People”, will have different stops or location battles. From Manila, the competition will go to Paliparan, Marikina (May 21), Sun Valley, Parañaque (May 28), Aurora Boulevard, Quezon City (June 4), and Subangdu Wireless, Mandaue City, Cebu (June 11). These will serve as qualifying rounds for the finals scheduled on July 9.

The winner in the finals will represent the country in the Asian Wall Lords 2011 competition in Taiwan.

Around 100,000 people die every year worldwide due to asbestos-related disease, according to the International Labor Organization.

A study made in India reveals that asbestos, dubbed the silent killer, may cause more than 1 million deaths, particularly in developing nations, in the year 2020.

Although 52 countries have banned asbestos, the Philippines still uses white asbestos, exposing many to danger, said Colina.

“Companies prefer asbestos because of its heat-resistant properties and is being used for steam pipes and boilers, including construction materials like floor tiles, cement sheets, roofing and textured paints and also for vehicle parts like clutch lining and brake pads,” Colina said.

Last month, the Associated Labor Unions (ALU), Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), and Building and Wood Workers International (BWI) urged the government to reduce the exposure of workers to asbestos and asbestos containing materials. –

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