Williamtown PFAS Pollution
From 1988 successive Federal Governments and even state governments after that must have been aware of the toxic nature of the firefighting foam that was used for training in case of a aircraft fire at all RAAF bases in Australia; since there were active cases and clear case evidence that 3M was seeking to defend massive damages claims. The state governments also used the material for training in case of a fire in an underground mine. All these sites have very heavy pollution of PFAS that is capable of causing aggressive cancers. The pollution is carried in the ground water and no real attempts have been done to clean up this mess. In the local community of Williamtown, near Newcastle, there are many small hobby farms, businesses, and housing properties badly affected; as well as many cases of agressive cancers that have caused serious health complications and early deaths to many in the community.
Some work has been done on potential clean up modelling by some researches at the Newcastle University and this needs to move to an aggressive field study as the pollution will continue to spread as time goes by. There is also there is a more cost effective way of breaking down these chemicles, often refered to as forever chemicles see https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/aug/18/pfas-forever-chemicals-new-method-decompose-drinking-water
It seems that the Cannabis (hemp) plant is a PHYTOREMEDIATION plant which means it extracts heavy metals from the soil that is is planted in and as such this plant may be able to clean up the mess created by successive governments; yet the willpower to fix the problem is not there in all areas of government. While cannabis is used as an illegal drug within the Australian communities, this plant can be used for many other lawful and useful purposes and the fear of the leaves being used by the drug barons to enhance their illegal trade should not prevent a real chance to clean up this pollution.
Over the years the various governments have promised action to assist those affected but have always backed away from the delivery of any planned solution as they are concerned about the costs yet they are the polluter and as such have a responsibility to fix the problem they have created. Residents in the area have seen the value of their properties plummet while all land prices throughout the country have astronomically increased and so even the option of re-location is beyond them. Even if they can sell their polluted property there will be insufficient cash to purchase a new property that could have anywhere near the potential of the premises that they originally purchased. Since the government permitted the pollution to devalue their land and to destroy their future at their desired location, the government must compensate all the affected residents.
Even after the residents are fully compensated, there is a responsibility to clean up the polluted area and the best plan is possibly using a natural product that being a plant that has phytoremediation characteristics and the cannabis (HEMP) plant is capable of doing that or breaking down the forever chemicles as the developing research is discovering
Hemp can be used in manufacturing of many products including ropes, textiles, clothing, shoes, paper, bioplastics, insulation and biofuel and so a full on manufacturing industry could be created as a direct result of a clean-up plan; that is if the full ground test proves that this plant is capable in the field to extract the PFAS from the contaminated sites.
- Christians for Community will seek to not only clean up the environmental pollution cause by this appalling decision to use such a toxic product; we will seek to justly compensate those where there has been personal harm and harm to their assets, if necessary we will engage in a just buyback of affected properties.
- All firefighting products must face a rigorous examination and shall not be permitted to be used if the product can not be established as being non toxic.