Despite earning the name as one of the most dangerous and contaminated places in the world, Wittenoom’s mining town remains to be a tourist attraction in the remote region of Pilbara in Western Australia.
The Plight of Wittenoom
Before Wittenoom has been declared as a contaminated site, there are around 2,000 people living in the town from 1930s to 1966. It is said that the people who lived there were engaged in mining activities and have carted deadly blue asbestos around.
As a result, many people living in the place have lost their families and loved-ones to mesothelioma and asbestosis. The unfortunate events that have involved residents of Wittenoom have been well-documented. However, with the rise of adventure tourism or ‘extreme’ tourism, it looks like it will require more to discourage people from visiting the place.
Tourists in Asbestos-Laden Town
The town of Wittenoom doesn’t lack signs that tell of the serious hazards present in the place. But curious travellers have taken these warning signs not too seriously as tourists still flock the place every year. In addition to that are the tourism operators in Western Australia that offer guided visits to the town for extreme tourism.
To quote Ashburton Shire CEO, Rob Paull:
“We’ve just heard on the Pilbara grapevine that there are groups going out there. Maybe they think it’s adventure tourism or along those lines, but we want to make sure everybody is aware there are significant dangers for themselves, their family and their friends if they go to Wittenoom.”
The WA Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, through its website, already warned people of the serious health risks in the area due to the presence of blue asbestos remnants. In its objective to discourage tourists to flock the town, it has also offered a list of other destinations that are worth visiting in the Pilbara region.
As thrill seekers continue to be attracted to the eerie beauty that Wittenoom has, the risk of asbestos also intensifies. And with that is the possibility of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases to take lives again.
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