A NSW man who caused 1250 tonnes of waste to be illegally dumped on a property he rented has been ordered to pay over $70,000 in fines and costs.
An image supplied by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) shows one of its vehicles dwarfed by an enormous pile of garbage at the site.
The agency told Penrith Local Court that Western Sydney man John Cannuli dumped the garbage on top of an established heap. He was fined $50,000 and ordered to pay more than $20,000 in costs.
Following the court’s ruling, the EPA released a statement on Thursday saying the “enormous” pile contained 356 tonnes of material comprising asbestos and over 900 tonnes of general solid waste.
The debris was trucked from the inner city suburb of Dulwich Hill 56km west to a rural property in Luddenham.
The EPA’s director of regulatory operations Carmen Dwyer said the defendant was paid to “dispose of the waste correctly” but “chose to pollute the environment and avoid any disposal fees”.
“About 45 truckloads of waste was taken from the excavation site to the property over a period of two days, with some of these loads containing asbestos,” she said.
“It is critical asbestos is disposed of appropriately to protect our communities and reduce any risk of exposure.”
Why asbestos poses danger to health
In NSW, illegally handling asbestos can attract individual fines of up to $7500, or $15,000 for companies. If the matter is heard in court, it can impose penalties of up to $1 million.
Homes built in the state before 1990 likely contain asbestos, but it is unlikely to pose an imminent hazard to health if it is in “good condition and unlikely to get damaged”, according to the EPA.
The two types of asbestos found in homes are friable, which means it can be crumbled when dry, and non-friable or bonded asbestos, which can’t be pulverised by hand.
Licensed contractors must be called in to remove more than 10 square metres of non-friable asbestos or any amount of friable material.
It cannot be reused, recycled, illegally dumped, or placed in a skip bin that is not specifically intended to house asbestos.
Once crushed or broken, its fibres can become airborne and lead to health complications and death.
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