A year-long campaign to tackle illegal asbestos dumping across the northern rivers, in which disposal fees were cut by more than 50 per cent in the Tweed, appears to have wiped out the problem in that shire.
The public-awareness campaign, which ended last month, was part of a trial North East Waste program involving member councils identifying whether cutting disposal costs or other incentives, such as providing special packaging for asbestos, had a direct impact on cutting down illegally dumped asbestos.
In the 12-month period, 796 Tweed residents and removal companies took advantage of the reduced rate in their shire, disposing around 176.5 tonnes of asbestos waste.
Tweed Shire Council’s waste management co-ordinator, Rod Dawson, said that during that period there were no reports of illegally dumped asbestos across the shire.
Mr Dawson said that in previous years, councils in the northern rivers cleaned up 15 loads of illegally dumped asbestos at an estimated cost of $30,000.
He said the funding received from the NSW EPA Waste Less, Recycle More initiative enabled Tweed Council to reduce asbestos disposal fees during the campaign from $183.50 per tonne to $85 per tonne.
‘Illegally dumped asbestos places a significant environmental and financial cost on council,’ Mr Dawson said.
‘Specialised private contractors often need to be engaged to do the clean up because of the potentially dangerous health risks associated with asbestos.’
In a further incentive to combat the problem, northern rivers residents are being offered the chance to win a $150 hardware voucher by having their say on the region’s asbestos awareness campaign.
By completing the survey before 7 August, at www.illegaldumping.com.au/survey.html, residents go in the draw to win the voucher which can be used at a hardware store of their choice.
The program has been funded with the support of the NSW EPA Waste Less, Recycle More initiative which in turn is funded from councils’ waste levy.
North East Waste (NE Waste) is a voluntary grouping of Tweed, Byron, Ballina, Clarence Valley, Lismore City, Kyogle and Richmond Valley councils working together towards cost-effective waste management solutions.