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Crackdown on asbestos causing problems in Metro Vancouver

WorkSafe BC has been cracking down on renovation and demolition because some older wallboard, gyproc, and sheetrock can contain asbestos.

“Asbestos disease is on the increase in this province. We have more workers today dying of asbestso related disease than ever in the history of WorkSafe BC,” says Al Johnson, WorkSafe BC Vice-President of Prevention.

Because of asbestos in the plant, WorkSafe BC even shut down the only wallboard/gypsum recycling facility in the lower mainland for three weeks.

WATCH: Concerns about contaminated material has most Metro Vancouver transfer stations and landfills refusing to take drywall. John Daly reports.

As it reopened, there were long lineups this week, and delays – making disposing of wallboard time consuming and costly.

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This resulting, apparently, in an increase in fly-tipping: illegal dumping of wallboard on municipal land and parks.

“The people who want to avoid regulation, they’re going to dump it wherever they can,” says Jim Caya, General Manager of Greendemo.ca.

“They’ve not done any testing, and it’s usually the ones who haven’t done testing that will just rip it out regardless.”

When the fly-tipped wallboard tests positive for asbestos, it goes beyond environmental degradation.

“It’s a very serious issue – it’s not just the dumping of the materials. The issue is someone has ripped it out from somewhere, were people have been contaminated,” says Caya.

Even when dumped wallboard isn’t positive for asbestos, it’s a cost to the taxpayer which could be on the increase.

“We’ve seen an increase in the last three or four days,” says Caya.

“I think you are going to see a lot more of it unless there is stricter enforcement.”

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