Aug 16, 2011

Orica ­ Déjà Vu

There would not be too many residents in Botany who would not feel a sense of déjà vu when reading media reports of a leak at the Orica chemical plant at Stockton in Newcastle.

The impacts of the Stockton leak we’re now told is three times what was originally thought – from six blocks to 30 blocks.

The Stockton residents, we’re told, should take precautionary measures over the leak of hexavalent chromium.

The leak was eight days ago.

The residents were not told for three days.

For three days chemicals, carcinogenetic substances, were in the air but the nearby residents were not told.

It even took 17 hours for Orica to contact authorities to inform the proper regulators that there had been a serious leak of dangerous chemicals.

Does any of this sound familiar to this City, this Council and our local residents?

Why would we experience anything but déjà vu?

Orica vents chemicals into the atmosphere.

Orica pollutes.

Orica tells no one immediately.

Regulators are slow to react.

This is Stockton now.

It was Botany in the past.

Have Orica or the State regulators learnt nothing?

It would appear not.

Déjà vu!

Our sympathies go out to the people of Stockton.

Our hope is that maybe, perhaps, possibly, Orica and the regulators will learn this time what they refused to learn or confront in the past.

Then residents – here and in Stockton, or wherever Orica is located – will be protected.

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