Asbesto is a fibre which causes cancer, is prohibited in more than 60 countries and has been responsible for many deaths in Colombia. Despite this, it is legal to use asbestos in Colombia, and there are several companies whose products are made with the material. However, the most concerning aspect is that these products are exported, but in other countries the asbestos is replaced with other non-harmful materials, and the malignant product remains in the Colombian market.
Greenpeace decided to take up the fight against asbestos and create a movement so that the companies would stop using the material in the production of their products. They also lobbied for a law to be passed to outlaw asbestos, which until that point had been rejected in its first hearing on 7 occasions. To be successful in this struggle, we changed the rules of the game, leaving asbestos to one side, as not many people understood the term and it didn’t bring about any emotion in society. We would speak instead about cancer and our story would be told by those who understood it best: the survivors.
This is the first success story to tell in the 7-year fight, and the first time that 4 Government Ministers, society and various important personalities came together to demand that the politicians put a stop to deaths caused by asbestos. This is the first time that the proposed law passed in the first instance, and it has become national news as well as a priority for the Government.