Asbestos-ridden materials have been dumped in a spate of fly-tipping across Fife.
Safety fears have been sparked as nine reports of the hazardous material being abandoned have been logged in March alone.
Authorities in Fife have expressed serious safety concerns following a flurry of fly-tipping incidents involving hazardous materials.
Thirteen instances where asbestos has been found have been recorded since the turn of the year, which compares to 22 in the whole of 2020 and 27 in 2019.
The spate of incidents comes amid a row over access to Fife’s recycling centres, with councillors suggesting changes in rules – brought in to stop misuse by commercial operators – and the introduction of a booking system as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic have led to an increase in illegal dumping.
Hotspots for asbestos fly-tipping include the areas surrounding Ballingry, Thornton, Inverkeithing and Ladybank, particularly in remote locations.
Exposure to asbestos is linked to diseases including cancer and COPD.
Kirstie Freeman, team manager for Safer Communities in Fife, urged people to dispose of all waste properly.
“Fly-tipping is irresponsible and bad enough, however add asbestos to the equation and it is just downright dangerous,” she said.
“When materials that contain asbestos are disturbed or damaged, fibres are released into the air.
“When these fibres are inhaled they can cause serious diseases.
“These diseases will not affect you immediately, they often take a long time to develop, but once diagnosed, it is often too late to do anything.
“If you have asbestos sheeting needing disposed of, do it correctly. It is your responsibility when you either take the job on or decide to remove it yourself.”
Covid-19 restrictions on local authority recycling centres earlier in the year saw a severe spike in fly-tipping incidents across Scotland and, despite recycling centres re-opening, fly-tipping incidents are still being recorded.
Cases in recent weeks have included rotting meat, domestic appliances, household waste, builders’ rubble, garden cuttings, pallets, and garage waste, including tyres and car batteries.
More than 125,000 reports of fly-tipping were made to Scottish councils in the past two years, according to recent research by the Scottish Liberal Democrats, but only 12 were referred to the procurator fiscal.
Ms Freeman said: “Asbestos is very costly to remove and requires specialist uplift and disposal, and we would encourage anyone witnessing incidences of it being illegally dumped to report it immediately, with as much information as possible.
“Fife Council cannot accept asbestos waste at its recycling sites, and householders should contact a waste management company licensed for asbestos disposal to dispose of this kind of waste.”
Fly-tipping can be reported by visiting at www.fife.gov.uk/flytipping
For more stories on how fly-tipping is affecting other areas in Tayisde, click here.