Northampton lead pollution

Friday 26 April 2013

Government Slow to act on Long-Running Health Risk from Lead in Northampton

Greens WA spokesperson on mining, Robin Chapple MLC, today commended the state government on its decision to carry out testing for lead pollution around homes in Northampton.

“I take this announcement at face-value, in the hope that it signals a speedy and thorough process whereby any lingering doubts over the risk to the health of the people of Northampton are finally resolved,” Mr Chapple said.

“Unfortunately, the track record in WA on this very toxic material is not great – the community will be remembering the fiasco of the supposed lead ‘clean-up’ in Esperance and the follow-up which was required.

“Then there was the Magellan lead ‘sealed’ bags incident in Fremantle.  Western Australians have reason to be skeptical when it comes to government assurances in these matters.

“There are deeply disturbing echoes of Wittenoom in this latest revelation from Northampton.  How many other communities around the state have been unwittingly spreading this sort of toxic waste in their gardens, on their driveways, playgrounds and schoolyards?

“The time has come for the government to look seriously at holding an urgent investigation into the potential for other towns to be at similar risk – it’s just not good enough to wait for these instances to work their way into the public spotlight.

“Time and again we find examples of resource projects being given the go-ahead with scandalously insufficient provision being made for the rehabilitation of the abandoned site which is inevitably left behind when the proponents move on.

“Lead from Northampton found its way into bullets used in the Boer War – in this time of national reflection on the follies of war, let us spare a thought for the innocent civilian victims of lead mining”, Mr Chapple concluded.

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