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Kids at risk from toxins

A report by the Auditor-General has accused the Victorian Department of Planning and Community Development, the Environment Protection Authority and local councils of not effectively managing contaminated sites, creating ?significant risks? to human health.

Twenty-two houses in Maribyrnong rest on the site of the former quarry, which was used for landfill between the 1930s and 1960s. Although Maribyrnong Council became aware that the site was contaminated in 1994, it didn?t inform the EPA until four years later ? when seven more planning permits were granted.

Health risks from the quarry in-fill ? particularly for children ? range from minor health problems, such as allergic reactions and hypersensitivity, to serious health problems, such as cancer, respiratory illness, reproductive problems and birth defects, reports The Age.

According to the Herald Sun, the clean up of the four worst-affected properties only occurred this year.

The report blamed the council?s aversion to legal and financial liability for its inaction on cleaning up the contaminated sites.

‘No one entity is accountable for oversight of the effectiveness of the regulatory framework in operation,? stated the report. ”Further, responsibility for managing the high risk sites has been neither clearly defined nor accepted by any entity.?

The report on the as-yet unnamed toxic site might not be the last, with a huge number of reclaimed quarries found within the suburb, and an estimated 10,000 contaminated sites within Victoria.

Maribyrnong City Council chief executive Vince Haining told The Age that within the 32 square kilometres of the municipality there were 89 former quarry sites that contain residential and industrial waste, but the council did not ”possess the financial means” to immediately investigate and remediate potentially contaminated sites.

Source: The Herald-Sun, The Age

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