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save the Blue Tier

press release, 1 october, 2004

St. Helens water catchment under threat

COMMUNITY FORUM, BREAK O’DAY MUNICIPALITY

Following 3 months of discussion, debate, reports and audits the recently screened Sunday program has again raised the issue of chemical usage in the George River Catchment. It has now become public knowledge that up to ten different chemicals are used in the catchment – mostly aerially sprayed in unknown quantities. In 1994 many of the streams that form the North George River were contaminated with Atrazine. The spraying regime, which includes herbicides, insecticides, growth regulators, fungicides and wetting agents, has continued ever since despite ongoing community concern. The plantation establishment in the headwaters of the George River has escalated dramatically over the years and now covers approximately 1800 hectares – containing an estimated 50 watercourses: aerial spraying cannot avoid these streams. (The plantation is on land bought privately by Gunns Ltd. and Glynde Management.)

Many of the St. Helens residents were shocked and angry to learn that their water may not be safe to drink AND that they had not been informed of the potential health risks. Feedback from the public confirmed the need for a forum whereby community members could have their questions answered.

On Monday 4th October – commencing at 6 pm, there will be a Public Forum at Doherty’s Hotel, St. Helens.

A facilitator will assist with the smooth running of the forum, which aims to address health and environment issues – correcting misinformation and providing advice and answers. A panel of scientists will answer questions from the public and is made up of Geohydrologist Dr. David Leaman, GP Dr. Alison Bleaney MBChB FACRRM, Wildlife Pathologist and Veterinarian Dr. Dave Obendorf and Marine Ecologist Dr. Marcus Scammell.

For further information contact Lesley Nicklason 6373 6195 or 0400 557 418

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