Daily Record – Commonwealth Games asbestos alert: Shock as toxic substance is found dumped on pathway near athletes’ village
(Written by By Keith McLeod and Stephen Stewart)
28 June 2014 – JUST weeks before the Games get underway one of Scotland’s leading asbestos experts says the affected area, near the multi-million pound athletes’ village, must be sealed off before an inspection can take place.
KILLER asbestos has been found dumped near the Commonwealth Games Village on the banks of the Clyde.
A horrified cyclist made the shock discovery as he used a busy riverside walkway near the multi-million-pound village – touted as the jewel in the crown of the east end of Glasgow’s regeneration.
Just weeks before the Games kick off, one of Scotland’s leading experts on the deadly substance said the site must be completely sealed off before specialists inspect the entire area.
Industrial hygienist Robin Howie – who has been involved as an expert in more than 400 legal claims – confirmed the material was asbestos cement.
Games officials said the toxic material must have been
flytipped. They added tests had confirmed there was no asbestos in the village, which will house 6500 athletes and officials.
Howie said: “It is asbestos cement which looks as though it has been flytipped there.
“The site needs to be fully sealed off and then the process starts of sifting through rubble to find the rest of this material. When you find some asbestos, you can be sure there is more lying around.
“It is incredibly dangerous and unpleasant. The effects of asbestos-related diseases are untreatable and can take 20 years to appear.
“It would constitute a very high risk if children found it and played with it.
“They would need to seal this area, sweep back the foliage and start sifting through the earth to find more asbestos.”
John Paul Clark – who regularly cycles down the riverside walkway – found the asbestos.
The site of his find is yards from the Dalmarnock Bridge, which carries the A749 road over the river.
Dad-of-two John Paul, 39, said: “The asbestos is just next to a new overspill drain they have built which channels water away from the Games village and into the Clyde. It was built about eight months ago.
“I used to work in demolition and I have been on asbestos training courses.
“I am not an expert but it made me aware enough to know when I see asbestos. I could see the telltale signs from a mile away.
“To me, this said asbestos right away.”
He added: “I sometimes fish in the river and when the river is high, the waterline will cover this area of the bank.
“Some of the asbestos could already have been swept away into the river.
“If they are going to spend £500million on the Games, you would think a fraction of that money would be used to clean up this site properly.
“I don’t think that athletes from across the world will be impressed that this asbestos is right next to them.”
When asbestos fibres are inhaled they can cause serious diseases which are responsible for around 4500 deaths a year.
The diseases do not affect people immediately as they often take a long time to develop but, once diagnosed, it is often too late to do anything.
A local – who declined to be named – stays yards away from site where the asbestos was unearthed.
She said: “The cycle path is very busy with kids playing and running about on their bikes.
“It is shocking to think this is right under our noses. It would be terrible if the village was built on top of a massive slagheap of asbestos.”
The Games village has been billed as a “purpose-built, low-carbon village at the heart of one of Europe’s largest regeneration areas”.
It will offer an exclusive retail area, recreation area, dining hall, medical facility and other amenities for the use of the athletes and officials.
After the Games, the site is scheduled to become one of the most significant new urban housing developments in the UK with permanent accommodation of 700 houses and flats and a new 120-bed care home for the elderly.
A total of 300 of the houses and flats will be for sale by the developer and 400 houses will be available for rent from local housing associations.
A spokeswoman for City Legacy, developers of the athletes village site, said last night: “It’s very important to highlight that the asbestos found is outwith the athletes’ village and not on our site.
“The athletes’ village is completely clear of all contaminants.
“The location underwent thorough remediation works before City Legacy started work and when the development was completed in January 2014, the whole site was independently tested for all contaminants including asbestos and the entire village tested clear.”
A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said: “We thank Mr Clark and the Daily Record for bringing it to our attention and we have arranged for collection and disposal by a licensed contractor.”