When going on holiday, most people are aware of certain risks. For example, pick-pockets, stomach bugs from less-than-savoury local cuisine, or questions about the drinkability of the water. However, for tourists visiting one town in Australia, the risks are much more life-threatening.

Tourists travelling to Western Australia are being warned not to go on tours which take them to visit Wittenoom Gorge. It has been discovered that the popular ghost town near Karijini National Park has dangerous levels of asbestos.

Why are the asbestos levels so high?

Between the 1930s and 1960s the gorge was used to transport blue asbestos. During this period, around 2,000 people lived near the gorge. Sadly, around 2,000 of these people have died after being exposed to asbestos, and the town has subsequently been deserted.

Tourists are still visiting despite the risk:

Despite the known risk, thousands of tourists still visit the gorge to explore without protective clothing or equipment. This may be because they believe that the risk may have drastically reduced when the transportation of asbestos stopped. However, asbestos is a very resilient mineral, and it will undoubtedly still be present throughout the gorge in dangerous quantities. A group of tourists trekking through could easily disturb any remaining asbestos, causing it to rise up and be inhaled.

Asbestos causes cancer:

Mesothelioma is an incurable cancer caused by asbestos. Sadly, it only takes a very small amount of asbestos exposure for someone to be at risk of developing it. By visiting this ghost town, hundreds of tourists are putting themselves at risk of developing a particularly malignant cancer in the future.

How can you prevent asbestos exposure whilst on holiday?

We would always recommend consulting local websites before you visit new areas. The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage website warns people: “DO NOT TRAVEL TO WITTENOOM.” This warning is not to be disregarded.

How can we help?

If you require assistance in pursuing a mesothelioma compensation claim or believe you have a valid case for any other asbestos disease then please contact us today on our freephone number 0800 038 6767. Alternatively, head over to the ‘Contact Us’ page, complete the form and we will be in touch.

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