A suspected arson at a Cook Islands High School has brought the proliferation of asbestos in the country to light.
The fire at Tereora College, on Rarotonga, was made more dangerous by levels of asbestos in the walls, and extensive air tests were carried out before the school was deemed safe again.
If inhaled, asbestos can lead to an aggressive cancer, and with many buildings in the Cook Islands containing the material, the recent fire has escalated fears.
A New Zealand air quality tester Stuart Keer-Keer helped with the clean-up, and he said the prevalence of asbestos poses a real challenge.
"Lots and lots of residential, and quite a few government buildings [have asbestos], although they're slowly removing it," he said.
"The biggest challenge for them is what to do with it when they've removed it, because the island's pretty small and the normal thing is to bury it but they're running out of places to bury it."
Stuart Keer-Keer said asbestos should be banned, and suggested New Zealand could help with its disposal.