Figures compiled by the Nature Conservation Council of NSW show chemical company Orica has breached its pollution licence 177 times since 2000 at the same industrial site in Sydney’s Matraville near Botany Bay where it has suspended the clean up of toxic mercury.
The Matraville facility has breached its licence every year since 2000, with the exception of 2003.The breaches include unlawful releases of ammonia, sulphur dioxide, sodium hypochlorite, vinyl chloride and acidic effluent.
“The long history of pollution incidents at Orica’s operations at Kooragang Island and Matraville over the past decade clearly shows we need tighter control and regulation of toxic pollution in this state,” Nature Conservation Council of NSW CEO Pepe Clarke said today.
“We cannot rely on chemical company Orica’s assurances that they are ‘good corporate citizens’ when its recent record strongly suggests otherwise. The current inquiry into the toxic leak near Newcastle is welcome but it does not answer the fundamental question of how to stop these hazardous incidents happening again in NSW.
“We cannot afford situations like at this Matraville industrial site where more than 170 breaches have been recorded but not one penalty notice has been served by the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). Without an effective, well-resourced EPA, we won’t have a true incentive for all companies to spend the time and money on cleaning up their performance.
“Right across our state, there are chemical facilities in close proximity to communities, waterways and environmental assets and we must have complete confidence in the systems and monitoring meant to keep us safe.
“The Government needs to take a long hard look at what is wrong with the state’s pollution laws and their enforcement, and urgently fix problems that allow companies to pollute our environment and threaten the health of communities,” Mr Clarke said.