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Marikina gets facelift; receives second urban intervention from Asbestos Street Fighters

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Street Crews from the National Capital Region gathered on Saturday, May 21, 2011 at the Paliparan-Goodrich Wall, Catalino Buenviaje Street, Paliparan Subdivision, Marikina City to compete for the Asbestos Street Fighters Street Art Competition Versus the Deadly Dust. Ten graffiti Crews battle head-to-head in creating pieces interpreting the competition theme “Asbestos Kills People.”

“Having the second location battle done here in Marikina is a symbolic point, to say the least, when raising the concern on the dangers of the Asbestos dust,” said Noel Colina, Executive Director of the Institute for Occupational Health and Safety Development (IOHSAD). “ It was in 2009 that Marikina City experienced massive damage caused by flooding, with houses and other structures destroyed. Natural disasters, like flooding and earthquakes, aside from the direct damage it brings, can also set-off the release of Asbestos dust.”

According to Colina, since the Philippines has been using Asbestos for construction materials since the 1970's, Asbestos -containing housing materials could have been destroyed during the flood caused by Ondoy, raising the concern of the deadly dust released in the environment. “This is a major health issue now faced by Japan after the Tsunami and New Zealand after the quake, that is why during the clean-up, workers had to wear especially made protective suit to protect them from inhaling asbestos dust.”

Asbestos is a silent killer, with the International Labour Organization estimates around 100,000 people dying every year, across the globe, because of Asbestos-related disease. Researchers in India suggests that in the year 2020, death from Asbestos can exceed 1 million, particularly in developing nations. Asbestos is considered a carcinogen, a cancer-causing material that can lead to fatal diseases, including lung cancer and Mesothelioma. Because of its well-established danger to human health, Asbestos is banned in 52 countries.

The competition was initiated by the IOHSAD to raise awareness on the issue of Asbestos through street art. The event in Marikina will be coming from the heels of the first head-to-head battle conducted last Saturday, May 14, 2011 in Intramuros.Manila.

“After today, there will be 3 more location battles. On May 28 in Paranaque, June 4 in Quezon City and on June 11 in Mandaue City. Two Crews will be selected from each location and will go head-to-head on July 9. The winner of the July 9 event will go to Taiwan to face other graffiti artists from Asia during the Wall Lords 2011,” stated Colina.

The Asbestos Street Fighters project is supported by Australian People for Health, Education and Development Abroad (APHEDA), the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS), the Asian Ban Asbestos Network (A-BAN) and the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO).