The entire Gippsland region needs to act now on behalf of all communities as the Koonwarra landfill debate progresses.
I have it on reliable authority that the plan has been raised with several Melbourne and suburban councils, and with local councils, for some time.
Local residents have been kept in the dark.
Just a few of the arguments against the landfill:
• Your drinking water will be poisoned:
Ground seepage will leach into the Gwyther Creek and Tarwin Lower River. Leongatha residents access this water in times of drought.
All landfill linings eventually break down, as has been shown from major research and case studies by prominent scientists. Copies of results of some of these studies are available on request.
It is known that both hazardous and common household waste products break down into identical chemicals, which will leach into the water supply and the atmosphere.
Our typical heavy annual rainfall will create a dam brimming with poisons and toxins. In addition, the Gippsland region is particularly vulnerable as it has a long history of susceptibility to earthquakes and tremors. These must inevitably affect the stability and durability of any quarry lining proposed by Veolia.
• Your food will suffer: Prime agricultural, beef and dairy land surrounds the quarry. As soil and water quality deteriorates, the livestock, produce and crops will be affected.
• Your health will suffer: Australia has the world’s highest asthma rate, and Gippsland has Australia’s highest. Airborne toxins and dust from the operation of this landfill will surely severely impact the health of asthma and allergy sufferers. The proposed landfill is only 7km from Leongatha Hospital. The region’s famous prevailing winds will carry these toxins and the stench that goes with them between Leongatha and Korumburra hospitals, already caring for the vulnerably ill, and on into Leongatha township and beyond.
• Your business is at risk: With 800 tonnes per day (to start) dumped on your doorstep, you can be sure that the odour, noise and disruption will drive your customers elsewhere. Your income or job will suffer as this rubbish dump becomes our major drawcard.
• You will be next: Gippslanders in other towns need not think that they will not be affected. Veolia spokesman Max Spedding has commented that “Gippsland is full of disused quarries and mines”. It won’t be long before Sitar, Cleanaway and other waste management companies begin eyeing off other areas and moving into yours. So when the new petition comes out, write to the press, get online, look for it at your local shopping centre, but sign to protect your health and safety, and that of future generations, before it is too late. Copies of recent EPA results are available on request. The EPA is legally obliged to conduct community assessments if enough signatures are received.
Alternatives: With Europe leading the way in transforming household waste by incineration and turning it into renewable energy, I ask why Veolia puts profit before people by using cheaper, out-dated and clearly unsafe methods rather than follow their example.
What price does Veolia really place on your safety? As local farmer Gordon Vagg commented last week, there is already a dual highway into the Latrobe Valley, where incinerators could be constructed for everyone’s benefit. Little Desert is a viable site until these are built.
A public meeting will be held as soon as practicable. Please contact me if you would like to attend.
Carolyn Burton, Leongatha South, 0422 643 601, rcburton@dcsi.net.au