Asbestos dumped on river bank

ASBESTOS was callously dumped at Chinderah last week.

The carcinogenic substance was dumped at the end of Chinderah Bay Drive on the bank of the Tweed River, a popular spot for anglers and only metres away from local residents, including a family.

The hunt is now on to find the dumper and hefty fines of up to $5000, or even prosecution for up to $1 million, are penalties at the disposal of Tweed Shire Council.

The incident has outraged Chinderah’s residents group, but hasn’t surprised a nearby business owner who said the area was a “prime dumping ground”.

Asbestos is a harmful substance that was used extensively in the building industry until late last century, when its harmful properties were discovered.

Exposure can result in numerous health problems including cancer and asbestosis.

Council’s Environmental Health co-ordinator Doreen Harwood said the dumped asbestos was wrapped as required by legislation – meaning the offender was aware of how to appropriately handle the toxic waste.

“It’s disturbing that they did not then dispose of it appropriately, as it appears obvious they were aware of the hazard the material presents,” Ms Harwood said.

Council has involved Workcover in the investigation to identify the offender.

Chinderah District Residents Association president Felicia Cecil was disgusted at the dumping.

“I am absolutely outraged that some moron has done this,” Ms Cecil said.

She said a family of five lived nearby, and caravan park residents regularly walked down the far end of the drive.

“You would have to be absolutely mindless to do something like that.”

Wayne Puddepha, who owns the manufacturing side of Warren Markwells Seafood, said he generally sees a lot of dumped rubbish on the river bank near his business.

But the dumping of asbestos took the situation to another level.

“It is a bit different having harmful waste being dumped in the area, but it really doesn’t surprise me,” Mr Puddepha said.

“It’s prime dumping ground down there.”

NSW Fire Brigade contained the material, as some of the plastic wrapping had been damaged.

The material contained some cream tiles bound to the sheeting.

It is believed the asbestos was dumped last Monday.

Call Council’s Environmental Health Unit on (02) 766 70 2440 with any information.

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