Lack of asbestos disposal sites leads to illegal dumping in country Victoria
The small but surprisingly busy road rolls past the Darnum Musical Village tourist spot, through farmland to the small town of Cloverlea and beyond.
But something potentially deadly lurks by the side of the road; something placed there not by naturebut by people trying to save time and money. Distance to an appropriate disposal site and the cost of disposal can be prohibitive and there is an apparent confusion about who should be coordinating the response to the dangerous material.
In March, asbestos was dumped on the side of Darnum Allambee Road.
past years, all illegal dumping, including asbestos, is administered exclusively by the waste management team in the community assets directorate, Ms Anstis said. scale of illegal dumping of asbestos, since the Trafalgar landfill was closed in November, 2011, is not evident from the limited data currently available. Anstis said that until the scale of the issue could be determined the council would only act to clean up waste.
The unavailability of records surprised Josh Fergus who is the CEO of the asbestos advocacy group Asbestoswise. expect people in businesses and buildings to keep a record of where asbestos is, he said. they getting reports of where asbestos is being dumped in public, but they not keeping records, I think (that) is very, very poor practice. It’s really short sighted, he said.
Asbestos is a fine fibrous material which, when inhaled, can become embedded in lung tissue. The possible health side effects of inhalation, which include asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma and pleural disease, occur up to 30 years after the substance enters the lung. Some of these diseases lead to death.
Mr Fergus said the health risks associated with asbestos were such that records should be kept and the public notified when an unsafe dump has occurred. not be taking records at all really leaves situations wide open for not being able to assist people with their health concerns into the future, Mr Fergus said. you in the situation of not wanting to cause public panic, but the people deserve to know and look after their own health. factors contribute to the number of illegal dumps, with the cost, time and effort of appropriately disposing of asbestos being possible reasons why people choose to abandon the hazardous material in public places. To use the facility, a representative of Latrobe City council must be contacted to discuss safe removal methods before the material is transported. A round trip takes around two hours and forty minutes.
Distances and travel times to landfill sites that accept asbestos. Map: William Kulich/EPA/Google maps
The distance is an issue not only because it might make legal disposal seem difficult, but also because improperly secured loads of asbestos present a risk to more communities when transported over larger distances. An investigation by The Age suggested loose asbestos contaminated material was unsafely transported in 2001 in open containers from a demolished chairlift at Mount Baw Baw to the then open Trafalgar landfill, possibly contaminating towns on the way.
The cost of appropriate disposal is also considered an issue by Asbestoswise. to reduce the cost for people to have it done properly in the first place that is obviously going to reduce the likelihood of (illegal dumping) happening, Mr Fergus said.
However, Ms Anstis said evidence would be needed showing that such a system would work before action was taken.
are not generally the experts in asbestos safety, nor are they funded or resourced to undertake these extra responsibilities, Cr McArthur said. State Government has primary responsibility for asbestos management in Victoria they push enough stuff onto us without pushing this onto us. McArthur said councils were only responsible when to the nuisance provisions under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act, and had duties to pass on advice from the Victorian Department of Health, Worksafe and the EPA. Hesaid the scale of illegal dumping of all waste had become a bigger issue in recent years.
The view of the MAV is at odds with that of Asbestoswise.
Record keeping issues are making the scale of the problem unclear. there sort of no consistent record, unfortunately it makes it really difficult to say how widespread a problem it is, Mr Fergus said.
Voices of public servants dip when mentioning asbestos in private conversation Belstaff trainers s in public spaces, seemingly to avoid worrying members of the public. Claims of responsibility for record keeping are passed between organisations. constructed between 1945 and 1980 usually contained large amounts of asbestos used as an insulator. Much of the older housing in regional Victoria Belstaff trainers was built in that period.
It is assumed m Belstaff trainers ost of that asbestos will be removed appropriately when the time comes for those buildings to be renovated or demolished, which could be many, many years away. Meanwhile, there is a continuing risk an ignorant or lazy builder or renovator will choose the easy option when it comes time for disposal.
Mr Fergus thinks that some businesses, and also some landlords under pressure from tenants to remove asbestos, remove and dump it illegally to cut costs. can tell you how common it is, but we do hear about these issues cropping up reasonably regularly, he said.
Cr McArthur said there was a need for community awareness and education on appropriate management. working with WorkSafe on their new program to help householders with practical support including the safe asbestos removal kit, he said.
Community education extends beyond a theoretical understanding. With householders being able to remove and dispose of small quantities of asbestos, Mr Fergus said there is a risk to their health if proper handling procedures are not followed.
need to be really well versed in safe handling procedure, they need to have protective equipment, a mask, they need to be double wrapping the material in really strong thick plastic bags, clearly labelling it [and so on], Mr Fergus said.