Thursday, October 20, 2011

On The Nose

ON THE NOSE COULD dust and odour issues in Hobsons Bay be on the improve? The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) received 335 dust and odour complaints from Hobsons Bay in the last financial year – down from 680 complaints being made in the previous financial year. With complaints down by more than half in 2011 – the question is: have issues improved or are residents just reporting to the EPA less? In the Brooklyn industrial precinct of Altona North and Brooklyn reports to the EPA are down from 546 to 244. Brooklyn Residents Action Group member Brian Long said the figures were down not because the issue had improved but because of the heavy rain. “We have had a very wet year and the moisture has kept the dust down,” he said. “The smells have only gotten worse.” In the last two financial years businesses in Hobsons Bay have been fined more than $80,000 for breaching environmental laws and ordered to pay almost $300,000 to community projects. Most recently in August this year the Australian Tallow Producers in Brooklyn were fined $20,000 and ordered to pay $13,300 in EPA costs for allowing offensive odours beyond the boundary of its premises – the odours were believed to be that of a dead carcass. A spokesperson for the EPA said the authority had been focussing heavily on the Brooklyn industrial precinct over the last 18 months. The spokesperson also said it was important to note that some of the reports received by the EPA could be for the same issue and should not be considered separate incidents. Mr Long said he understood the EPA was doing its job but believed a lot of people were not reporting issues as often because they couldn’t be bothered. “The figures will spike again,” he said. “I’m still cleaning my air-conditioning and my car just as often – the dust is just settling during the night.”

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