Managing asbestos is not as straight forward as people think; the potential harmful fibres are not the easiest to protect yourself from, especially if you’re not accustomed to the safe removal and disposal of asbestos. This is perhaps why it is deemed illegal for any organisation to remove asbestos material if they are not licensed to by the correct agency; in this case the environmental agency. However, if your organisation produces 500kg or less of hazardous waste from a non commercial site, you are not required to register the premises with the Environmental agency.
Organisations that produce under the 500kg threshold in terms of hazardous waste, there are licensed disposal sites that are situated throughout the UK, specifically designed to deal with asbestos waste. In other words, sort it yourself!
Kind of daunting isn’t it when you think about it, but if you wear the correct protective clothing and follow the correct procedures for removing asbestos affected waste, you’ll be fine. If in doubt, seek professional advice regarding the matter.
If you are in a position where you have to sign up with the Environmental agency, due to the amount of hazardous waste produced on commercial premises, you can do so for up to 12 months at a time, by which time must be renewed. Failure to declare hazardous waste produced on any commercial premises will result in heavy penalties and cahrges will be brought against you due to the severity of potential harm to the health and safety of humans.
There are some individuals that choose not to comply with these regulations and therefore end up fly tipping, which is extremelly dangerous to us and the environment.
Even though there are ways to dispose asbestos materials in a safe way, there are still many issues surrounding the safe disposal. The main problem throughout the UK is fly-tipping. This can have very damaging and lasting impacts on the environment and even though people know it, they obviously don’t care about the immediate surroundings or laws for that matter. Fly-tipping often occurs at night and I doubt very much that people realise the risk of fly-tipping in terms of possible asbestos.
This should be heavily clamped down upon by local authorities; imagine children coming into contact with the hazardous rubbish. For one, there’s no need for it as there are plenty of places they can take it and second of all, they should have respect for their surroundings. So, there’s absolutely no excuse when it comes to fly-tipping, well apart from money/cost. But at what cost would they put a child’s life at? Not much by the looks of it and therefore, deserve to receive long term prison sentences, in my opinion, as the health risks to others are devastating.
In addition to the environmental and health costs, fly-tipping unfortunately costs the local governments financially, at a time where money is tight for local governments and having to make cuts; not only on local services, but jobs, which in turn has a financial impact on the local economy on the whole.
Recent Fly-Tipping Cases
There have been recent cases of fly-tipping that have got out of hand and are occurring just way too often in the same areas. One case being in the area of Kildare, in Ireland and is renowned for its pure and natural beauty. Fly-tippers were dumping hazardous asbestos waste in plain sight in the countryside, and locals were naturally appalled and horrified to learn of this hazardous waste being dumped on their ‘doorstep’.
Nearby residents reaction to the hazardous fly-tipping was mainly that they were particularly concerned with children coming into contact with asbestos, and without good reason; asbestos can take years to come to light and costs thousands of lives every year.
Sean, the author of this article, is an expert when it comes to asbestos removal and the impacts in which asbestos can cause not only to people, but to the environment also.