Fury as asbestos among eight tonnes of rubbish dumped just metres from primary school
Fly-tippers who dumped asbestos among eight tonnes of rubbish metres from a school have been branded "diabolical".
West Belfast DUP councillor Frank McCoubrey said the perpetrators had no regard for people's safety - particularly the children who attend Glenwood Primary and those who live in the local area.
A passer-by raised the alarm after spotting the cancer-causing substance lurking among rubbish on a patch of wasteland used as a playground on Lanark Way, off the Shankill Road.
It was illegally dumped amid rubble including builders' rubbish, old fridges, household waste and refuse that was to be used to build a bonfire.
Specialist workers removed the asbestos over two days.
Councillor McCoubrey said children often played on or next to the wasteland and also raised concerns that youngsters may have come into contact with the hazardous material.
He added it could have been "disastrous" if the waste had been set on fire because it would have released toxic fumes people could have inhaled or that could have wafted into homes, affecting entire families.
"Residents here are just disgusted," councillor McCoubrey told the Belfast Telegraph.
"It's diabolical that those responsible have put children's lives at risk by dumping here to avoid paying to dump it properly.
"A passer-by reported it to me, and then health and safety experts from Belfast City Council and the Housing Executive came straight out.
"Tests proved that it was definitely asbestos, so a specialist company had to be brought in at a cost of thousands to ratepayers to have it properly removed.
"It's a disgrace and has put a real dampener on the area."
The councillor revealed workers had found documentation linking the fly-tipping to a north Belfast contractor, who could now face prosecution.
"Those who were looking after the bonfire thought that it (the asbestos) had been dumped alongside wood that was to be burnt for the fire, and they were very helpful on giving information to help identify the culprits, including the vehicle that they were driving.
"Residents were put at risk and everybody is disgusted at those who have dumped it, so they have been very helpful.
"The authorities, including the PSNI and the Housing Executive were excellent in getting it sorted quickly.
"There were a number of letters found amongst the asbestos, so now the PSNI has leads and has linked it to a company.
"Hopefully, they will be prosecuted and others will get the message that fly-tipping will not be tolerated."