For many people, the thought of dealing with asbestos is an inconvenient hassle, not to mention something instantly written off as being ‘too expensive’ before any quotes are even commissioned. These types of reactions deter people from developing a true understanding of the potentially disastrous outcomes for themselves, their families, employees, neighbours, communities, and future generations. Consequently, too many decent people revert to illegal dumping, bidding for the ‘cheapest quote’ or just disposing of asbestos quietly in their kerbside otto bin.
There are 5 main ‘costs’ you should consider before you decide how to deal with asbestos
- The health of yourself, your family, or employees
- The health of the wider community
- The health of future generations
- The financial cost to taxpayers
Good health after inhaling asbestos fibres, is not something that anyone with endless amounts of money can buy. Once asbestos fibres have lodged in your tissue there is no known way of removing or neutralising them. Short cuts now to save money could effectively end your life.
Even once the asbestos has been removed from your home or workplace, if not done to the highest standards can still create deadly hazards. If fragments are left in the dirt or allowed to escape into the surrounding atmosphere, those microscopic fibres pose a risk to any subsequent users of the area including your family, friends and/or employees.
Health of the wider community
Every Australian may feel they have a right to choose their own health outcomes, but stop to think about the dangers to neighbours, employees, dump truck drivers, or anyone else who innocently inhales dumped, broken asbestos.
Disposing of asbestos in kerbside bins might seem perfectly innocent but spare a thought for people walking past and those disposing of the debris.
Health of future generations
In rural areas, its common practice to ‘save a few bucks’ and DIY your asbestos removal and disposal. The unfortunate truth is that ‘asbestos buried’ is not always asbestos gone. Underground water flow and weather events have managed to transport many broken pieces of asbestos into rivers, creeks, culverts, getting into waterways and putting people at risk. The other problem is, that future generations pose the risk of unwittingly digging up undocumented buried asbestos when they dig deeply for things such as foundations, water boring and to install underground services, putting their health at risk.
The financial cost to taxpayers
According to the Newcastle Herald, ‘an estimated 6,000 tonnes of asbestos are illegally dumped in Australia every year… costing taxpayers around $11.2 million in clean up costs.’ Every council in the country has lost a fortune in having to pay for clean-up and remediation costs of dumped asbestos. Unfortunately the clean up bills are always far higher than the initial cost to have the asbestos removed and disposed of correctly in the first place. The actions of a few are costing the rest of us greatly.
In 2019 new laws were passed in Australia to double the penalties for dumping, contaminating land and illegally disposing of asbestos. The penalties for individuals now start at $500,000 and $2 million for corporations.
Therefor the cost of a fine will far outweigh the cost of safe, responsible, licensed professional asbestos removal and disposal.
Next time you’re contemplating what seems to be a sneaky harmless shortcut on materials that may be asbestos, take a moment to weigh up the long-term impacts that could arise from your course of action.
*information referenced from The Newcastle Herald