Removing asbestos from old structures and dumping it in unauthorised areas is not only illegal, but it creates serious health concerns for residents, city workers and future dwellers.
Exposure to the carcinogenic substance causes serious diseases such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer and other respiratory problems. This is why the New South Wales government has committed itself to spending $43 million to better control illegal dumping of the fibre, as well as other harmful wastes.
Local governments all over the state can now send in submissions to receive a share of $40.6 million, which will be dispersed over the next four years to prosecute people who illegally dump the material.
The program marks the largest effort in the state's history to put a cap on dangerous dumping and burying of asbestos.
"This funding is designed to support councils, industry and community organisations tackle a range of recycling and waste issues including problem wastes like paints, lead acid batteries and asbestos," said NSW legislative member Gabrielle Upton.
"Round one is now open for five separate grants totalling $40.6 million over four years to facilitate improvements in infrastructure, food waste avoidance, organics collection and illegal dumping."
The government steps in to offset asbestosis, mesothelioma risks
The remaining $3 million of the grant will come from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA). The group said the spending is a part of a new pilot project that will waive the waste levy on asbestos and reduce tip fees in some areas for the following year.
"Asbestos disposal is an increasing community concern as more home renovators undertake works on pre-1990 homes, so this trial will pilot innovative approaches to increase the lawful disposal of asbestos and discourage illegal operators by reducing the financial advantage," said Environment Minister Robyn Parker.
In addition to removing the waste levy, the EPA said it will also contribute $50 per tonne that will be put toward the cost of removing and transporting asbestos in the safest way possible.
This trial program will be a part of councils and businesses all over the state, and the results will be analysed by an independent body. The EPA will then use this information to develop new, more effective asbestos disposal programs.
Asbestos exposure is a serious threat in NSW. Sometimes it may take decades for the illnesses to cause problems, and by then it's too late. To learn about all of your legal options when it comes to asbestos exposure and mesothelioma diagnoses, get in touch with lawyers experienced in such matters.