A call to arms to stop a massive landfill project in the Riverina is gaining traction as an upstart activist group garners support.
‘Don’t Rubbish the Riverina’ was formed last month and already has 190 paid members on its books.
The group has two petitions circulating to gather support to stop the landfill at the Ardlethan tin mine being approved.
Coolamon Shire Council has given its in-principle support to the project to truck 5000 tonnes of waste per year to the site, and a petition to it already has 1000 signatures.
Ardlethan Environmental Solutions (AES) is the company looking to use the disused tin mine north-west of the small town to fill it with rubbish from Sydney – up to 400,000 tonnes per year.
The other petition is for the state government. It has more than 2000 signatures and will be handed in before parliament ends for the year on November 19.
Don’t Rubbish the Riverina president Renee Doyle said the group continued to grow in strength and said the landfill plan is damaging to the region’s food bowl brand.
“We feel like we’re getting a lot of support,” Ms Doyle said. “We’re just trying to get the information out there so people can understand what is going on.”
Ms Doyle said a similar project at the Woodlawn landfill at Tarago – in between Canberra and Goulburn – is an example of what could happen if the mine was approved.
“When they approved that landfill it’s capacity was 500,000 tonnes of rubbish a year,” Ms Doyle said.
“Within six years it’s up to 1.13 million tonnes a year.”
“(The Woodlawn landfill company, Veolia) said it would benefit the community, but the smell impact has been quite severe.
“There have been houses up for sale there for years – where has the money gone they promised to put back into the community?”
AES director Peter Francis said the business was taking all the necessary steps to ensure there would be no damage to the community.
“There will be no unacceptable risk to agriculture,” Mr Francis said.
“People won’t be able to smell it – they will be unaware that it will be there.
“There’s a lot of scaremongering going on.”
He said the limit of 400,000 tonnes of waste per year from Sydney would not increase, due to logistical costs to transport the rubbish, and will bring 30 full-time jobs to the area.
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