Most people are aware that working with asbestos can cause serious, life-threatening health hazards such as lung cancer and mesothelioma decades after exposure. Some people are aware that disturbing asbestos in commercial and residential buildings while remodeling or tearing them down is also extremely dangerous. But few consider that disposing of asbestos materials carries its own hazards and must be monitored closely.
In Northern Ireland, it was revealed by Mr. Steven Agnew at an Assembly meeting that unsafe methodes of disposal were used up until June of 2013 in at least one landfill.
Mr. Agnew subsequently told the Belfast Telegraph that hazardous waste remains a threat to human health and the environment for many years, “Burying it simply means ‘out of sight, out of mind’ – but its potential to contaminate land or even the water table lingers for decades. The issue of asbestos, once deemed to be safe enough to put into people’s homes, highlights how we must exercise great caution going forward to what chemicals and hazardous substances we expose both humans and the environment. We need to make sure that best practice guidelines for the disposal of asbestos are followed rigorously and these areas are carefully monitored . . . for any threat of future contamination.”
As inhabitants of this great planet, it’s necessary to remain vigilant and require contractors, business owners, home owners, and environmental agencies to enforce safe practices when handling or disposing of asbestos and all toxic and hazardous substances. Long after their usefulness has passed and they are buried, these materials can potentially cause more harm far into the future.