Clear up operation under way, no asbestos found in classrooms

A team from a company specialised in removing asbestos has started a clear-up operation in the village of Kleit in the East Flemish municipality of Maldegem. As we reported on Friday a primary school and a crèche have been declared out of bounds after it emerged that workers renovating a near-by sports hall had thrown broken asbestos sheets into a skip without following the necessary safety procedures.

They were also photographed and filmed smashing the sheets in the skip, an action that increases the risk of carcinogenic asbestos fibres escaping into the air.

The Mayor of Maldegem Bart Van Hulle (liberal) told VRT News that “We have the impression that the asbestos contamination at the sports hall site is under control. The clear up operation got under way this morning and no asbestos was found in the samples taken yesterday in the nearby classrooms”. 

Mr Van Hulle added that the clean-up operation will take between one and two weeks. The 300 pupils from the school will be taught in makeshift class at the local cultural centre or at other schools in Maldegem while the clean-up takes place.

Temporary places have also been found for the children from the crèche. The polling station that was due to have been set up in the sports hall at the centre of the asbestos scare will now be set up in the local football club’s canteen.