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Asbestos dumping goes ahead in Southland

The transportation of asbestos-contaminated waste from quake-hit Christchurch to Southland must be stopped, says New Zealand First.

Large volumes of toxic waste will be carted 560 kilometres south to be dumped near Winton in Southland, spokesman for Christchurch Earthquake Issues, Denis O’Rourke, says.

“We call upon Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee to reverse this decision and to abide by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority’s undertaking on its website.

“This states that ‘Asbestos must be disposed of at Kate Valley landfill’, which is the landfill built for Christchurch waste, 70kms away in North Canterbury.

“Instead, the waste will be taken south in modified general shipping containers, not in the purpose-built containers that are used for Kate Valley.

“The neighbours around the Southland landfill at Browns have now been told to expect the asbestos, but they were not consulted.

“Nor have the many communities along the route, including Timaru, Oamaru, Dunedin and Invercargill, been consulted.

“It should be a concern to them that this dangerous waste is to be transported in containers which are not best practice, purpose-built for asbestos-contaminated material.

“The potential human health risks that asbestos dust could do if it escaped from these containers in the event of an accident is too high to justify any possible cost saving achieved,” says Mr O’Rourke.

ENDS

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