Sydney won its bid to host the Olympic Games in the year 2000, it
hyped the Games as the "greenest" summer Olympics of all
time. But a massive toxic waste dump lies underneath the fine landscaping
of the Olympic site at Homebush Bay. The dump is covered by a metre
of dirt and a mountain of public relations.
Bay is a former industrial site and armaments depot which, before
its transformation, was subjected to years of unregulated waste
dumping. In recent years asbestos-contaminated waste and chemicals
including dioxins and pesticides have been found there, along with
arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury and zinc. It is
the worst toxic waste dump in Australia, and the bay into which
the waste leaches is so contaminated that fishing in it is banned.
The sediments in the bay have concentrations of dioxin that make
it one of the worlds worst dioxin hot spots. The dioxin is
largely the result of waste from a Union Carbide factory, which
manufactured the notorious herbicide Agent Orange there during the
is impressive, in PR terms, is the way this massive toxic waste
site has been transformed into a "green showcase", thanks
in large part to the endorsement of Greenpeace and other key Australian
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Toxic Green Olympics, Current Affairs Bulletin 70(6),
November 1993, pp.12-18.
Olympic Landscape: A Toxic Cover-up, Search 27 (7) August
1996, pp. 209-211.
landfill" the way to go?, Engineers Australia, October
1998, p. 62.
an Olympic-Sized Toxic Dump, PR Watch, 6(2), 1999, pp.
Self-Censorship in Australia's Olympics Bid, PR Watch,
6(2), 1999, pp. 7-8.
a Leaky Landfill as the "World's Best Practice", PR Watch,
6(2), 1999, p. 9.
gloss over toxic Olympics site, Canberra Times, 23 September
1999, p. 10.
Beder, Let the Spin Begin!, Harper's
Magazine, May 2000, pp. 50-1.
. . And what the tourists will not see', Sunday Age,
18 June 2000, p. 8.
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