25,000 tonnes of toxic waste abandoned in Southland

The waste is no longer owned by the smelter.
The waste is no longer owned by the smelter. Photo credit: File

Around 25,000 tonnes of toxic waste from the Tiwai aluminium smelter in Bluff has been abandoned, causing a giant health and financial disaster.

Nearby residents say they can smell the toxic waste, and it's giving them serious health problems.

The waste is no longer owned by the smelter - as Taha International was contracted to deal with the waste. However the company went into liquidation a year ago, leaving a giant problem behind.

Otago regional councillor Michael Laws says the toxic waste is sitting on several sites throughout Southland and causing problems for the landowners.

The government says it will only partially pay for the cost of cleaning up the waste. It's estimated to cost around $4 million to ship the waste offshore. 

The rest of the cost will have to be dealt with by Southland landowners.

Newshub.