Toxic waste scare for residents
By Maria Bailey
RESIDENTS living near the Italo Australia sports club in North Lismore have received a scare from people dumping waste behind the club.
Bags, possibly containing radioactive toxic waste, were found dumped near the banks of the Wilsons River in Lismore.
Local resident Joyce Mulley told The Northern Star she became aware of the dumping of rubbish in an erosion gully three months ago.
Three days ago she noticed among the rubbish, bags labelled cytotoxic waste.
Media manager of the North Coast Area Health Service, Robin Osborne, said cytotoxic waste was generated in hospitals, usually waste from the treatment of cancer patients.
But when Italo Soccer Club treasurer John De Conte examined the bags after being alerted to them by The Star, he found they were just full of grass clippings.
"People are dumping stuff here all the time," Mr De Conte said. "Three or four times a year our members do a big clean-up, but it's a losing battle.
"A lot of homeless people camp out by the riverside. A lot of it is probably rubbish they've thrown into the river."
Mr De Conte said severe erosion of the gully at the back of the fields had made the situation worse.
"People throw things into the gulley and it's become too dangerous to climb down there to clean it out. Five years ago the gully was a small depression but floods and heavy rain have made it worse."
He said the club had been having talks with the council about solving the erosion problem. "We had a fence there but the recent heavy rain toppled it. It may become a danger if it's not dealt with."
Mr De Conte said the soccer club had made all its players aware of the need to be careful around the gully.
Spokeswoman for the Lismore City Council, Wendy Johnson, said council was aware of the problem of people illegally dumping rubbish near the club after complaints from residents. She said council planned to conduct a clean-up of the area.