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14 August 2019
By DEAN LAWSON
A growing waste-disposal dilemma unfolding across Australia has sparked Member for Lowan Emma Kealy to declare the region off limits as a potential ‘Melbourne dumping ground’.
Ms Kealy said she would fiercely oppose any State Government moves to target western Victoria for simple landfill dumps to cope with the growing city waste crisis.
She said she instead wanted the government to ‘do its job, take a tough and pressing issue by the horns’ and come up with a solution that worked for all Victorians.
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Ms Kealy agreed her move represented a pre-emptive position, without any indication the government would look to the regions for somewhere to dispose its growing mountains of recyclable material.
“I’m making sure we get in first with this. It is not hard to see landfill space quickly becoming a problem in Melbourne and I’m determined to make sure we don’t become a dumping ground for someone else’s rubbish,” she said.
“The Wimmera, Mallee and Western District, as well as supporting vibrant and healthy communities, makes up a large percentage of the state’s food bowl.
“We can ill-afford to risk contaminating soil and water resources with large-scale dumping, especially with petro-chemical plastic waste.”
Ms Kealy, a qualified bio-medical scientist, said she had already been horrified with what might have occurred had a massive illicit toxic-waste dump at Kaniva remained undiscovered.
“Estimates are that 50-million litres of toxic waste has been dumped at the Kaniva site, posing a potential threat to human health, cropping land and a critically important underground water supply,” she said.
“This was obviously something done by someone illegally and the Labor government unjustifiably kept this a secret from locals for more than a year. Now, people are understandably nervous, especially when they keep hearing that previously recyclable waste in our capital city will soon have nowhere to go.”
A decision by China and then other countries to introduce tougher standards in accepting recyclable waste from Australia and a glut of material, much of it long-lived everyday consumable petro-chemical plastic, is at the heart of the waste dilemma.
Victorian operations of Australian recycling company SKM, responsible for processing recyclable waste for 30 municipal councils, collapsed earlier this month. In Melbourne and Geelong, trucks full of material previously destined for recycling have been lining up to dump loads at landfill sites.
Ms Kealy said Victorians over the years had become well educated about the need to and benefits of recycling and many were outstanding at separating their rubbish for collection.
“Everyday people are more conscious than they have ever been about the impact rubbish can have on their environment and make enormous efforts to recycle,” she said.
“But they need government ideas, action and guarantees their recycling efforts are worth the effort.”
The entire August 14, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!