'Asbestos' dumped by river on Bundy Sugar land investigated
INVESTIGATIONS into the suspected illegal dumping of environmentally damaging materials along the Kolan River are under way.
The NewsMail can exclusively reveal that Bundaberg Regional Council is inspecting a portion of privately-owned land where a member of the public spotted items of harmful rubbish lying on top of mangroves and in close proximity of the water's edge.
The local told reporters he had been fishing east off the mouth of Kolan Conservation Park when he noticed the mess of litter on the waterway's southern bank.
Visible to him from, a distance, were a number of materials including tyres, a roofing iron, ceramic dishes, concrete cylinders, wooden pallets and what closely resembled either asbestos or fibro sheets.
The local resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told the NewsMail he had been fishing most of his life and had never come across anything as "disturbing" as the pile of litter spread across the shore.
"There's fibrous sheets that look like asbestos lying next to the river's edge," he said.
"Locals could breathe it in, and, in that river system, everything flows.
"I have contacted the Environmental Protection Agency.
"I care about my river systems."
The NewsMail can confirm the sheets will need to undergo official testing before it can be determined whether they contain asbestos or not.
Photos of the wet mess show the rubbish piled on top of mangroves.
Stabilising sediment, mangroves provide habitats for marine life, prevent erosion and filter pollutants in waterways.
A council spokesperson said the matter being investigated would "be treated as water contamination under the Environmental Protection Act 1994".
"Any location where harmful materials can find their way into a river system or waterway is treated seriously by regulatory authorities," they said.
"Dumping refuse in or adjacent to a public waterway (if the material can leach into the waterway), either on public or private land, is illegal and significant fines are applicable to those found to be responsible."
A spokesperson for the Department of Environment and Science said they had no knowledge of the dumping.
"DES has not received any reports of illegal dumping on land owned by Bundaberg Sugar near the Kolan River," they said.
"It is the responsibility of the local council to investigate dumping into rivers and creeks."
Bundaberg Sugar was approached for comment yesterday, however, did not provide the NewsMail with a statement before print deadline.
Illegal dumping can be reported to the Department of Science and Environment online at https://report-littering-dumping.ehp.qld.gov.au/ or by calling the Pollution Hotline on 1300 130 372 or 13 74 68.