It is not necessary to tell readers that Visy is a multi-billion-dollar corporation. Equally, when ‘money’ talks and makes demands, an army of opportunists run about to do its bidding.
Certainly, if a problem for the Visy corporation should arise, no end of spin-doctoring would start up to brush the issue away.
Visy prides itself by adopting all the politically correct phrases – sustainability, affordable clean energy, environmentally- friendly and so forth.
Yet, Visy has some track record for heavy handedness against those who might warn its workplace practices are not always safe. Visy does not like criticism.
So now we must turn to a matter which deeply concerns truck drivers called upon to do a very dirty job.
At present, Visy has contracted to transport waste material from Smithfield in Sydney to a Visy facility at Coolaroo in Melbourne. Visy has obtained the services of a few transport companies. The names of these companies are certainly known to us.
Reasonably, Visy considers it cheaper to transport the waste long-distance, rather than dispose of it in some other way.
Visy calls the waste “cogen” and it is then the subject of “cogenation” in special furnace units that generate steam to produce electricity.
“Cogen” – if the material being transported inter-State is any indication – can be made up from soiled babies’ nappies, condoms, plastics, old clothing, shoes, needles, some paper products and other non specific items. Visy representatives have claimed to the transport companies that the material has been “boiled” and in this sterilized state it is safe to handle and transport. It is usually wet when loaded.
It is true that some waste is too wet to bale (ie it is a sludge) and they send it to the Wetherill Park landfill at $180 per tonne. It is cheaper to transport it to Melbourne.
Usually, the transport workers and drivers are not issued with any protective clothing upon the advice of the Visy officers. These officers insist that the “cogen” is harmless.
Transport company officers have told some drivers that the material has not been subject to any toxicity reports.
A mass of mess: is it safe?
Drivers have claimed that the material emits a foul odour. Drivers and other company staff have noted that trucks driving from Sydney to Melbourne must lose some of the “freight” on the way as the loads are invariably substantially lighter upon arrival. This has been explained as a liquid loss.
The liquid sprays from the trucks and may come into contact with people or animals along the road. Some vehicles when stopped leave behind puddles of the foul smelling liquid.
Trucks leak foul liquid on the Hume Highway:
We must ask: is Visy breaking the law in transporting “cogen” an amalgamated waste product, over long distances? Why has Visy not had toxicity reports done on the waste?
Are there chlorinated dioxins, furans and heavy metals in Visy’s waste? These are all carcinogenic. Dioxins and furans are the most toxic chemicals known to to science, save biological weapons. Read more: http://www.ejnet.org/dioxin/
Why have transport workers not been warned to take safety precautions?
Before the spin-doctors get to work and Visy’s big stick gets to media, transport companies and their workers, it is time for the Environmental Protection Authority and Work Cover to become involved.