Dangerous waste a hazard at Ettalong Beach

Glass and waste was found at the beach

Visitors to Ettalong Beach have reported sightings of broken glass and asbestos material products ahead of what is expected to be a busy holiday season on the shore.

Glass, tiles and waste products have been found washed up on the shore, with concerns the materials could be hazardous to beachgoers.

As a regular walker along Ettalong Beach, Yasmin Raymen said she was disgusted to keep finding the waste.

Raymen contacted Council’s customer service line and was told the area would be cleaned of the dangerous waste material.

She said she returned to the beach weeks later to only find more waste piled up on the shore.

“Our beaches will be used a lot in the coming warmer months and beachgoers deserve to feel safe,” Raymen said.

“Many children, dogs, runners and walkers can be harmed by these dangerous objects the longer they’re left on the beach and in the water.

“I’m astounded Ettalong beach has not been closed due to the known risk to the public of the dangerous asbestos-looking material.”

It is an issue that has not escaped the eye of Member for Gosford Liesl Tesch.

Tesch has written to Council asking that any existing signage be reviewed, and new signage installed.

“It must be located in appropriate areas (and) clearly outline actions beachgoers should take if they find hazardous materials,” she said.

“We have seen just how bad it can get with hundreds of kilos of asbestos washing up or being exposed as dunes recede at Wamberal Beach after severe storms.”

However, Council maintains it is taking a proactive approach.

A Council spokesperson said the beach is manually inspected every week for potential asbestos-containing materials and other waste as it is not accessible by tractor raking.

“Any potentially hazardous loose material found in these locations is removed immediately,” the spokesperson said.

“Previous assessments by consultant hygienists following identification of similar materials at Wamberal and Terrigal in recent years have identified that the risk to public health and safety is considered low.

“Warning signage has been placed in these areas where potential asbestos containing materials are regularly found.”

Council said the inspection program has not changed over the past 18 months and will be continuing, with staff unaware of any significant increase in waste over recent months.

Council is asking residents to continue reporting hazards directly to Council through the Report an issue icon on its website.

Maisy Rae