Sunday, August 14

Almeida and Villacís announce the elimination of asbestos in schools in Madrid without presenting the Master Plan

Almost two years have passed and the Madrid City Council has still not drawn up a Master Plan for the elimination and eradication of asbestos in Madrid, both in educational centers and in other types of buildings built with this highly toxic material and which causes a greater risk of cause cancer. Specifically, the municipal plenary session, in a session held in October 2020, approved the removal of asbestos before 2030 and urged the municipal government to prepare a project within a year, with special attention to schools and educational centers. All the groups voted in favor of the proposal presented by the PSOE, except the PP and Ciudadanos, the parties that make up the Government, in charge of carrying out this assignment, which abstained.

This Wednesday, the issue of asbestos returns to the Cibeles Plenary with two opposition initiatives: one from the group led by Mar Espinar and another from the main opposition group, Más Madrid. Both are going to denounce the passivity of the Government in the face of this serious health problem, which in the city of Madrid affects numerous educational centers, and they will pressure Almeida to present the Master Plan for the removal of asbestos in the capital.

The Socialists will ask “what actions are being carried out by the Madrid City Council to eliminate asbestos in the different educational centers and facilities in the city of Madrid”.

For its part, Más Madrid has registered a proposal in which they request that “before December 2022, the Madrid City Council signs an agreement with the Community of Madrid to urgently, comprehensively and definitively address the removal of asbestos from all educational centers of the city”, with a list of all, explaining in each case which administration will be in charge of the appropriate works, what these actions will consist of and in what period they will be carried out“. They also state that “all the works of removal of asbestos contained in the agreement must be completed before December 2023”.

Aware of this, the deputy mayor of Madrid, Begoña Villacís, rushed this Monday to announce that the City Council plans to carry out more than twenty interventions in the schools in the capital before the school year begins to carry out work to remove the toxic material. Specifically, Villacís, he visited the Juan Gris school in Villa de Vallecas, where he checked on-site how these eradication works were being carried out.

“This is one of the 23 operations to remove this carcinogenic substance that will be carried out this summer.” “They join the 26 that we have already done. Far from fleeing from a reality (the presence of asbestos in schools), we have wanted to face it and have done the necessary work to solve it”, Villacís has expressed. “Removing asbestos from schools is an obligation to children and their parents,” he said on Twitter.

For the PSOE this is just “a patch.” “A week ago the Government of Almeida and Villacís recognized that it had no plan. They are patching. Now they announce that they are acting in only 23 schools. But in April it was published the Law on Waste and Contaminated Soil, which contemplates the creation of censuses of asbestos installed by the municipalities, including a calendar that plans its removal before January 1, 2023, and setting a deadline of 2028 for its total removal . And they haven’t done anything either,” says PSOE councilor Pedro Barrero, for whom “it is difficult to understand the reasons that lead them to profile themselves in this matter of public security, which directly affects boys, girls and city ​​teenagers. “What we demand is that the mandate of the Plenary be fulfilled and that the Master Plan for the elimination of asbestos in Madrid”, adds the mayor.

According to data provided by the Socialists, some 925 educational centers between nursery schools, primary schools, institutes, special education centers and adult centers that exist in the Community of Madrid, have the real possibility of containing asbestos. Of that figure, 39% is in Madrid capital. 88% of these centers, 361 in total, have a high probability of containing asbestos. Only 50 centers are released. Latina and Puente de Vallecas have 33 and 39 educational centers affected, compared to Salamanca and Barajas with 6 and 5 respectively.

The PSOE assures that there are no excuses to undertake once and for all the mandate of the Plenary because the Consistory has resources for it: specifically, the Plan for the recovery, transformation and resilience of the city of Madrid, endowed with 732 million euros. In addition, the Community of Madrid will receive 22,371 million euros from the Spanish government, from European funds, for this type of action

In contrast, the Socialists make Almeida ugly that in 2022 alone “62.2 million will be spent on asphalt, which, adding those spent in the previous two years, amounts to 182 million euros.”

The City Council in turn wanted to point out that the Community of Madrid has so far invested 1,453,000 euros in the removal of asbestos from educational centers in the capital during the year 2022 and also stressing that “the presence of this material does not directly indicate a situation of risk”, given that -he believes- “asbestos is not a gas, a vapor or a radioactive substance and its fibers do not come off naturally, but it is necessary to manipulate or alter said materials so that they release and emission of the fibers take place.

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