Visitors to Ritchies Bushland Reserve were shocked to find this sign indicating asbestos had been dumped in the area. Asbestos was due to be removed by a Parks Victoria contractor today. D040216.

Visitors to Ritchies Bushland Reserve were shocked to find this sign indicating asbestos had been dumped in the area. Asbestos was due to be removed by a Parks Victoria contractor today. D040216.

A FAMILY was shocked and high-tailed it out of the area when they came upon some asbestos at the Ritchies Bushland Reserve just outside of Korumburra last week.
The bush track follows the old South Gippsland Highway alignment and is popular with dog walkers, and apparently dumpers.
Along with the asbestos that was dumped sometime over the last two weeks, there was evidence of other dumping near the car park.
Just over the embankment was a decomposing horse carcase, in the car park was a heavy fireplace (minus the flue), household items and green waste.
Parks Victoria, which manages the park said a small amount of asbestos was due to be removed from the park this morning.
“Late last week, Parks Victoria staff were made aware of a small amount of asbestos 50 – 60 metres from the highway in the reserve that was partially buried and other general rubbish,” Graeme Baxter, Parks Victoria’s District Manager for South Gippsland and Bass Coast said.
“Parks Victoria staff were on site yesterday morning (Monday, January 11) cleaning up the rubbish and cordoning off the area where the asbestos remains.
“The contractor is coming today (Wednesday, January 12) to remove the remaining asbestos.”
The old sign warning of asbestos was also removed.
“Ritchies Bushland Reserve in Korumburra is not a historic asbestos dumping ground, however there was some asbestos removed by a contractor engaged by Parks Victoria approximately a year ago and it is possible that the asbestos that was recently discovered was missed in the clean-up,” Mr Baxter said.
“The contractor is required to put a sign advising the public that asbestos is being removed and should have removed the sign when the job was completed.”

Illegal dumping
The asbestos was first reported to South Gippsland Shire Council, who in turn informed the land managers – Park Victoria.
Dumping remains a significant problem for the shire, which has, in the past two years prosecuted 12 people for illegal dumping offences.
“Common dumped items reported to council include household items – typically clothing, toys, electrical goods and crockery, general waste and green waste like tree branches, weeds and lawn clippings,” council’s Manager Regulatory Services Matthew Patterson said.
“Rates of illegal dumping complaints are consistent throughout the year.”
South Gippsland Shire Council has an asbestos disposal area at the Koonwarra Landfill, however, as Mr Patterson said, “there are steps that they need to take to protect their health and the health of others.
“We recommend that people engage a professional licenced asbestos removalist but if they want to perform the works themselves and take the material to the Koonwarra Landfill, guidance can be found at www.asbestos.vic.gov.au.
“Once dropped off at the Koonwarra Landfill asbestos is disposed of in the landfill as per EPA guidelines. No further transportation is necessary.
“The Koonwarra Landfill is open Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm and weight based fees apply.
“Asbestos from commercial/industrial operations and asbestos removalists is not allowed to be disposed of at Koonwarra.”
Failure to follow guidelines for removing asbestos, and disturbing asbestos so fibres become suspended in the air and breathed into the lungs can cause a range of diseases including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.
Council and Parks Victoria urge people to report illegal dumping to South Gippsland Shire Council on 5662 9200, or Parks Victoria on 13 19 63. To report environmental crime, like dumping asbestos call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, report it to your local Parks Victoria office or police station.


What is asbestos?

ASBESTOS is the name given to a group of naturally occurring mineral fibres which were used extensively in many products due to the versatility, strength, fire resistant and insulating properties of the fibres.
The versatility of asbestos made it attractive to many industries and is thought to have more than 3000 applications worldwide.
Australia was one of the highest users per capita in the world up until the mid-1980s.
Approximately one third of all homes built in Australia contain asbestos products.
The widespread use of asbestos has left a deadly legacy.
Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and the inhalation of asbestos fibres is associated with increased incidences of a number of diseases including pleural disease, asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Even limited or short-term exposure to asbestos fibres can be dangerous but exposure does not make development of an asbestos related disease (ARD) inevitable.
* How do I know if there is asbestos in my home?
Approximately one third of all homes built in Australia contain asbestos products.
As a general rule, if your house was built before the mid-1980s, it is highly likely that it would have some asbestos containing materials.
If your house was built between the mid-1980s and 1990, it is likely that it would have asbestos containing materials.
If your house was built after 1990, it is unlikely that it would have asbestos containing materials.
It is not possible to determine whether a material contains asbestos by simply looking at it.
The only way to be sure is to get a sample tested by a National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited laboratory.
For information on testing and accredited laboratories in your area, visitwww.nata.com.au or call 1800 621 666.
If you are in doubt, treat the material as if it does contain asbestos.