Industrial-scale pollution requires industrial-strength oversight

By The Canberra Times
Updated April 23 2018 - 8:49pm, first published March 28 2014 - 8:05pm

The contamination of Canberra groundwater with carcinogenic hexavalent chromium and the failure of authorities to ascertain the extent of the pollution and order an adequate clean-up is a collective dereliction of duty that is, sadly, all too common in Australia. Funding cuts to the Environmental Defender’s Office and the federal government’s renewed efforts to eliminate ‘‘green tape’’ are likely to further erode existing environmental protections. And if the inability of regulators to adequately police existing environmental protection laws were not bad enough, the companies whose managerial and operational lapses cause soils, rivers and groundwater to become polluted all too frequently adopt the default position of the fictional Bart Simpson: ‘‘I didn’t do it. Nobody saw me do it, you can’t prove anything.’’

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