Tonnes of burning waste cleared, asbestos probe begins

More than five tonnes of burning rubbish suspected of containing potentially deadly asbestos found on a roadside in Sydney has been cleaned up as a council begins investigating how it got there.

The pile of construction waste was discovered about 11pm on Monday in Rossmore, on Sydney's southwestern fringe.

NSW Police, firefighters and the Camden Council were involved in the clean-up, about a 15-minute drive from two asbestos-accepting tips.

The council said it was investigating the alleged illegal dumping of more than five tonnes of construction waste.

"We're extremely disappointed to see this has occurred," a spokesperson said.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority said it will assist the council investigation as needed.

The discovery comes less than a week after laws doubling most pollution fines and strengthening the power of the environmental regulator came into effect.

Companies guilty of wilful waste disposal that harms the environment can now be fined up to $10 million, while the unlawful disposal of asbestos carries fines of up to $4 million.

Individuals can also be fined up to $2 million and $1 million, respectively, for the two offences.

Rossmore is a short distance from the epicentre of Sydney's asbestos-contaminated mulch saga, which sparked school and park closures and a festival's cancellation.

Bonded asbestos - which is considered low-risk, unless fibres are released into the air because of damage or bad weather - was found in recycled mulch at more than 70 sites after a child found the material in an inner Sydney park in early January.

All detections have been traced back to a Bringelly facility operated by Greenlife Resource Recovery, which has been banned from producing more of the mulch.

Greenlife denies responsibility and is contesting the production ban in court.

There is no suggestion Greenlife is linked to the Rossmore incident.

Melbourne is in the grips of its own contaminated mulch crisis after asbestos was found in several parks in the city's west and north.

The contaminant might have been introduced in the supply chain, Victoria's Environment Protection Authority said on Monday.

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