The BBC’s current affairs program ‘File on 4’ has revealed the extent of illegal waste dumping in the UK, estimating that over a billion pounds have been made by illegal waste disposal companies charging to collect hazardous waste and then dumping it in unlicensed dumping grounds.
Dirty Asbestos Secrets
In the program broadcast on 16th November 2014, an investigation carried out by BBC journalist Allan Urry found that millions of tonnes of illegal waste is being dumped – sometimes near fresh water boreholes – and contains chemicals, oils and asbestos waste.
The program looked into a number of cases including that of Gary Doonin who was fined £200,000 in a record legal case after it was discovered that his company had illegally dumped hundreds of tonnes of waste in a former colliery in West Lothian, Scotland. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) claimed the waste produced noxious gas affecting local and global air quality and poisonous fluids capable of killing fish and plants in local rivers.
Illegal waste dumping costs local councils millions of pounds every year, which ultimately translates into higher council tax bills for the general public. Most significantly, illegally dumped waste can’t be regulated and therefore puts the environment and public at risk. Plant and wildlife can be poisoned and dangerous chemical waste can seep into local water supplies and clean water boreholes. Illegally dumped asbestos can also be a serious health hazard especially friable materials such as asbestos insulating board (AIB).
If you instruct a waste carrier to dispose of any waste you should ensure that they are a licensed waste carrier. You can find a registered waste carrier on the gov.uk website.
A licensed waste carrier will follow a Code of Conduct and will ensure that waste is disposed of correctly.
You can listen to the full File on 4 episode here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04ntvvh