A BUILDER has hit out at the council for waiting more than two weeks to remove dumped asbestos from a public toilet.
The asbestos was identified by Nigel Low, 45, a construction worker of Leamington Road, Southchurch, who spotted it outside the toilets in Elm Road while walking his dog.
He believes the council has been slow in removing it, claiming he first called them about it three weeks ago.
Mr Low said: “I work on sites in London and have been given asbestos awareness training, so I knowwhat the material looks like.
“People are using the toilets and walking past and don’t even know what it is.
“It’s a public health risk, but the people I was speaking to at the council were nonchalant about it.
“I couldn’t believe it.”
A spokesman for the council said staff had been out to inspect the asbestos, but as it was not broken up, did not consider it an immediate risk.
Steven Crowther, Southend Council’s group manager for waste and environmental care, said: “A report was received on March 24 regarding two undamaged asbestos sheets that had been flytipped in Leigh.
“An environmental care officer visited the site the next day to assess the public health risk and begin an investigation. The asbestos sheets were solid, fully intact, undamaged, outside and deemed to pose no risk to the public in their undamaged state.
“The officer made several return trips to re-assess the risk.
“An investigation was undertaken as we have a duty to find out who dumped the material, potentially prosecute and ensure the offenders dispose of the material correctly and at their own cost.
“However, the investigation proved inconclusive, so we raised an order with our specialist contractor on April 9. Their contract with us means they have to remove waste for us within 48 hours.
“We would urge people to dispose of hazardous waste correctly and through authorised and licensed waste carriers, whose details are available on our website.”
Asbestos was popular for its sound absorption and resistance to heat, electrical and chemical damage, but can cause illnesses such as lung cancer.