Successful conviction for illegal asbestos disposal
The EPA has successfully prosecuted a local building contractor who, without permission, disposed of a significant quantity of asbestos in a bin at the north eastern suburbs premises of a well-known retail automotive dealership. The defendant was captured on CCTV at the time.
The successful prosecution in the Environment, Resources and Development (ERD) Court relates to the charge of unlawfully disposing of waste on 4 June 2013 in breach of section 34(2) of the Environment Protection Act 1993.
The defendant was convicted and fined $15,000 (plus costs) on this single count.
While the defendant pleaded that he was unaware that the material contained asbestos, the Court argued that the onus of responsibility was on the person disposing of the material to ensure that all safety measures were taken to guarantee that the asbestos being disposed of was done legally, and to a licensed landfill.
The Court acknowledged the defendant’s early guilty plea and cooperation during the EPA investigation. However, it found that this was a serious offence that had the potential for very grave social and environmental impact.
The magnitude of this penalty is a stern reminder that the EPA is serious about pursuing those in breach of the Environment Protection Act 1993, and that this type of illegal activity will not be tolerated.