Breathing the fibres of asbestos into the lungs can cause a range of diseases, but there will now be a safe way to dispose of the killer mineral in Leeton.
Leeton Shire Council has given its unanimous approval for the construction of an asbestos disposal pit at the Leeton Landfill and Waste Recycling Centre.
In his report to council, manager of water and waster Greg Richards said there were a number of unsightly structures around Leeton and surrounding villages which impacted on the appearance and image of the community.
He said many of these structures had fibro cladding containing asbestos and there were in a state of disrepair, posing potential safety risks.
Council’s director of environment and engineering Brian Ashcroft said reducing resident’s exposure to asbestos and encouraging the removal of these structures can only be seen as a positive for the overall image and first impressions of our community.
“To add further incentive to the usage of the asbestos disposal pit, council will also offer all Leeton shire residents the opportunity to dispose of asbestos for a period of 3 months free of charge following the construction of the pit,” he said.
“When you take into account the safety concerns asbestos presents, particularly to children who are unaware of the dangers associated with exposure to asbestos, the decision to construct an asbestos disposal pit is logical and feasible for council to support.”
Asbestos is most “well-known” for its role in causing mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer that can develop in linings of the lungs, abdomen, or heart.
Asbestos refers to six naturally occurring fibrous minerals that have the ability to resist heat, fire and electricity.
Although asbestos fibers are microscopic in nature, they are extremely durable and resistant to fire and most chemical reactions and breakdowns.
“Council has an absolute responsibility to manage asbestos within its own properties and at the Leeton landfill,” Mr Ashcroft said.
“This initiative will hopefully encourage landowners to do the same by address existing issues on their properties.”
An extensive public awareness campaign will be undertaken once the pit is constructed to promote the initial three-month free usage offer.