Asbestos dumpers put lives at risk

FLY-tippers who left asbestos in a South Tyneside country lane were blasted for putting the lives of people and animals at risk.
Council officials are asking for help to track down those responsible for the “disgraceful” dumping of asbestos cement at the side of a road in West Pastures, West Boldon,
It is the sixth case of asbestos being abandoned in the borough in the past two months, and the second in the West Pastures area.
On this occasion, the asbestos was found within feet of a sign warning people about illegally abandoning waste, sometime over the recent Bank Holiday weekend.
Coun Jim Perry, South Tyneside Council lead member for environment and transport, said: “It’s disgraceful that people think they can use our green areas as a dumping ground for their rubbish.
“There is really no excuse for it. It’s also costly to clear up – the council spends more than £2m a year keeping the borough clean and tidy, and incidents like these are a drain on our resources.
“Any abandoned waste spoils the look of the area, but dumping asbestos is particularly serious because it contains potentially dangerous substances that are harmful to the wildlife and the environment.
“Nobody should underestimate the dangers of coming into contact with asbestos – I lost three very good friends and work colleagues to mesothelioma after they were exposed to this material.
“We are determined to stamp out this sort of irresponsible and anti-social behaviour, but we need the public to help us.
“Many of these incidents occur in our countryside areas, which are popular with dog owners. I’m sure they would be very concerned about this material being abandoned in places where they like to walk their dogs.
“We would urge local people to help keep an eye on these areas and tell us when they see things like this happen so that we can take action.”
Anyone with information regarding the dumping of the asbestos cement, or to report environmental problems such as fly tipping, dog fouling and abandoned waste, can call the council’s customer contact centre on 427 7000 or e-mail customerhelp@southtyneside.gov.uk and all calls will be treated in the strictest confidence.
Information on asbestos and the precautions to be taken when in contact with the material is available on the council’s website at www.southtyneside.info
Residents can dispose of small amounts of such materials at the Recycling Village, at Middlefields Industrial Estate, South Shields, by appointment only.
Call 427 2064 to arrange a time.
Source: The Shields Gazette