One of the greatest challenges facing Western Sydney is the safe management and disposal of asbestos waste.
Asbestos building products were used widely across Western Sydney during the post-war housing boom creating what is now known as Sydney’s ‘fibro belt’.
By the 1980s almost one third of Western Sydney homes were clad in asbestos fibro sheeting, and many more used asbestos-containing products in bathrooms, laundries, kitchens and electrical switchboards.
While most houses built prior to 1980 will contain some asbestos building products, there is generally minimal risk when sheeting is kept in good condition and left undisturbed.
Of greater concern is unsealed, loose fibro sheeting that may be stored in Western Sydney’s backyards, behind sheds, or in garages – a legacy of past renovations.
Over many years this unsealed sheeting becomes increasingly brittle and may begin to break down, releasing harmful asbestos fibres.
Western Sydney councils want to help safely dispose of this asbestos before it reaches the high-risk stage, which is why WSROC has brought back the successful Western Sydney Residential Asbestos Disposal Scheme (WSRADS) in 2017.
For a limited time, the WSRADS program will help Western Sydney households dispose of small amounts of unattached asbestos fibro sheeting free of charge.
Local registrations will open in the coming weeks, with collections occurring before May 2017. Interested residents should keep an eye out for details of the scheme in their local paper.
Collections will be carried out by licensed asbestos removal contractors and are available for up to a maximum of ten square metres (10m2) of bonded asbestos.
WSROC President Cr Stephen Bali said “The previous WSRADS program was able to safely remove over 65 tonnes of asbestos sheeting from Western Sydney households, which was an outstanding result.
“We hope that we can repeat this effort, making our communities safer places to live.
“With asbestos, it is always safest to err on the side of caution. The best advice is not to disturb it in anyway, and when in doubt call in the experts,” he said.