Illegal dumping of asbestos is a significant issue for local Councils, State Government Departments and Land Owners. The high cost of disposing of asbestos and asbestos contaminated material (ACM) has meant that illegal dumping of asbestos is very profitable. The cost is derived from the actual fees at land fill sites that accepts asbestos waste and the distance required to transport the material. Much of the illegally dumped asbestos is properly contained and sealed, indicating that it is being removed by trained personnel.
The sources of the ACM can be refurbishment or demolition projects. Old factory sites with high levels of ACM can be bought cheaply as the cost of removal of ACM is factored into the purchase price and illegal removal and disposal can make these projects much more financially attractive. A fact not lost on many owners of older sites.
The government response can be to increase compliance and enforcement activities which have been shown to be ineffective to date or to reduce the costs of dumping asbestos and make more land fill sites readily available. Clearly the current situation of ACM being commonly dumped on crown reserves, nature reserves and crown land is unacceptable and steps should be taken to avoid this situation as far as practicable.
Readily available land fill sites that accept asbestos waste at a moderate cost may be the only successful strategy to counter the huge growth in illegal dumping.
Peter Attwood - CEO