Asbestos found in Sydney parks

Asbestos has been detected in at least three parks in the heart of Australia’s largest city, with more testing underway to find out how far the dangerous carcinogenic substance might have spread.

The City of Sydney confirmed on Monday night it had detected asbestos at Harmony Park in Surry Hills, Victoria Park near the University of Sydney and Belmore Park near Central Station.

High-risk friable asbestos, which is easily crushed into a powder, was discovered at Harmony Park at Surry Hills while low-risk bonded asbestos was found at Victoria Park, near the University of Sydney, and Belmore Park, next to Central Station.

The NSW Environmental Protection Authority notified the council last week that its suppliers may have received mulch contaminated with asbestos.

“Based on this advice, we immediately began testing five parks: Victoria Park at Broadway, Belmore Park near Central Station, Harmony Park and Prince Alfred Park in Surry Hills and Pope Paul VI Reserve in Glebe,” the council said.

“Today, the test results have identified bonded asbestos in mulch at Victoria Park and Belmore Park.

“Fences and signs will be installed immediately around mulched areas and clean-up crews will get to work.

“Friable asbestos has been found in mulch at Harmony Park in Surry Hills. This park will be fenced off and temporarily closed. Signs will be installed and the site cleaned.”

The council said it had not detected asbestos at Prince Alfred Park ir Pope Paul VI Reserve.

Last month, asbestos was also detected at the Rozelle Parklands.

“Testing will continue at other parks in our local area,” the council said.

“The recycled mulch product is only used in garden beds and under trees, not in playgrounds.”

“We continue to work with the EPA and will share more information when it comes to hand.”

The EPA is testing other sites across the city.

The agency has been contacted for comment.

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