Dumpers Pay, Environment And Ratepayers Win
Bass Coast Shire Council’s efforts to crack down on illegal dumping are paying off.
Rather than simply removing the waste at the cost of ratepayers, Council’s Community Safety Ranger, George Antal, recently investigated an illegal dumping near the Kilcunda Cemetery and located the offender.
The Dalyston woman found responsible was ordered to remove the two trailer loads of unwanted household items and was fined $289 for the littering offence.
Council’s Litter Prevention Officer, Leanne Edwards, said Council is protecting the environment and saving money by holding the offenders responsible for illegal dumping.
“In the past, Council and other land managers, such as VicRoads and Parks Victoria, generally just removed illegal dumping as soon as they became aware of it,” Ms Edwards said.
“Over the past 12 to 18 months, we have all been putting a lot more effort in to manually inspecting dumped rubbish with the aim of finding the offenders and making them responsible to clean up their own litter.”
Officers from every council, VicRoads and Parks Victoria are authorised under Victoria’s Environment Protection Act to investigate incidents of illegal dumping and take appropriate enforcement action.
From July 2012 to June 2013, Council was able to identify offenders in around 40 per cent of cases most months, reducing the volume of illegal dumping requiring removal by Council staff by almost 60 per cent.
The associated waste disposal, fuel and labour savings for that period total around $40,000.
Ms Edwards said Council’s illegal dumping enforcement program has been well received in the community.
“While there is definitely a small proportion of people who feel entitled to leave their unwanted items in public places, there are a lot more people who do the right thing with their waste items,” Ms Edwards said.
“They are very happy to see the Council making illegal dumpers clean up their own mess at their own expense, instead of at the expense of the law-abiding majority of our residents and holiday-makers.”
Dr Roz Jessop, Environment Manager at Phillip Island Nature Parks, noted that in addition to being costly and unsightly, illegal rubbish dumping has an impact on the natural environment and can result in the spread of weeds.
“Illegally dumped chemicals can also readily disperse into our waterways and marine environment and have a devastating effect, particularly on frogs which are highly sensitive to environmental changes,” Dr Jessop said.
“We’ve also seen the impacts of rubbish ending up in the marine environment and seabirds and seals becoming entangled.”
Examples of other litter enforcement ‘wins’ include:
- A man from Inverloch was fined $1,790 for failing to remove a large pile of illegal dumping after being formally directed to do so by a Community Safety Ranger. The dumped items were left just metres away from Screw Creek.
- A man from San Remo was made to remove mattresses dumped on Phillip Island and was fined $289.
- A man from Richmond was directed to remove bags of litter from a roadside in The Gurdies and was fined $289.
- A Phillip Island holiday-maker from Mildura was directed to remove household bags and hard waste dumped on Pyramid Rock Road to avoid a fine.
- A Cape Woolamai resident was directed to remove a significant quantity of garden waste her gardener and sons had dumped on a nearby foreshore and vacant block over an extended period and was issued with a warning.
To report illegal dumping in your area or littering of small items, such as cigarette butts, the community is encouraged to contact 1300 BCOAST (226 278).