Quarry could cause lung cancer, Fulton Hogan keen to keep talking with residents about their concerns
Canterbury health officials are warning of the dangers of living near quarries, after Fulton Hogan confirmed it intends to get resource consent to mine near Templeton.
Residents believe that dust from the quarry will be harmful to their health – and the Chief Medical Officer agrees.
Dr Alistair Humphrey says the sharp silica dust stirred up can cause lung cancer, nose bleeds and conjunctivitis.
“It’s like sandpaper blowing through the air, so it can cause conjunctivitis,” he says.
Templeton residents are fighting to stop Fulton Hogan from getting the resource consent. More than 200 residents where packed into a local church for a public meeting about the quarry last week.
Dr Humphrey says we should follow Australia’s lead, and ban quarries from operating within a kilometre radius of residential homes.
“We have to be absolutely confident that dust will not blow over the boundary into neighbouring properties,” he warns.
Fulton Hogan says they want to be a good neighbour and is keen to keep talking with residents about their concerns. And this would be the right thing to do for two reasons. Mainly to ensure that residents are not exposed to health risks, but also to ensure that Fulton Hogan is not in breach with current NZ health and safety legislation. The Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) states, that a business not only has to ensure the health and safety of employees. It also “… must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the health and safety of other persons is not put at risk from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business …”. In the case of a quarry, ‘other persons’ includes residents living nearby.
It will be interesting to see, to what extent Fulton Hogan will take residents’ concerns into consideration. I will keep you informed about future developments in this case.