Determining perpetrators of illegal asbestos dumping remains an issue in U.S. and abroad

9 Jan 2017 by under News

UK Asbestos Removal Enclosure 100x100 Determining perpetrators of illegal asbestos dumping remains an issue in U.S. and abroadIn many countries around the world, abatement procedures for include disposing of the material, a known human carcinogen linked to the development of deadly malignant mesothelioma, in approved ways. However, despite the known risk to public health, those rules are not always followed.

As previously reported, the rate of illegal asbestos dumping in British Colombia is on the rise, and the city of Vancouver has spent nearly $50,000 to address illegal dumping. In the United States, Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed criminal charges against 2013 Investors, its owner, the owner’s cousin and an employee for “multiple violations of the Washington Air Act and reckless endangerment,” according to a press release. The company performed an unpermitted renovation on an 89-room hotel that investigators discovered after driving by the property and seeing “debris likely to contain asbestos sitting out in the open air, endangering workers and neighbors.”

In some instances, it is as easy  as driving by to uncover which company or which workers illegally handled asbestos, but in other cases, it can require a bit of detective work. The Australian Broadcasting Company in Newcastle reported last week that a birthday card held the key to discovering who had dumped 15 tons of asbestos-contaminated waste near Kuri Kuri, New South Wales.

NSW’s regional illegal dumping (RID) squad tracked down the perpetrators of the dumping, which they believed to have come from one house based on similar carpet pieces found at the two different dumpsites, based on a birthday card given to a boy named Earl found in the debris.

“Several members of Earl’s family, and eventually Earl himself, got in touch with investigators from the RID Squad,” Rob Robertson, the squad’s coordinator, told ABC Newcastle. “It turned out that Earl had received the card when he was 7 years old, and he’s now a 42-year-old man. With the information that Earl and his family were able to give us, we were able to find the original family home and that led us to the people that were in charge of the demolition.”

Those responsible were fined under Australia’s Protection of the Environment Operations Act. In the United States, penalties for illegally handling asbestos can include fines, probation and even jail time.

 

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