Illegal dumping costing in excess of $150,000 annually
IT’S no secret that there seems to be a dumping issue around the Greater Shepparton area. In fact, illegal dumping costs the community in excess of $150,000 annually, but whose responsibility is it to clean up the piles of garbage left behind by those who have little or no regard for their actions?
There are several problem areas around Greater Shepparton that have been identified as target zones for dumping, including in drainage in outlying townships, in bushland areas along Watt Road, at Mooroopna’s Gemmill Swamp and in bushland along the Peter Ross-Edwards Causeway, and thanks to the careless acts of a few, it is estimated that financial cost to the community for cleaning up illegally dumped waste across the Local Government Area is in the order of $150,000 annually.
When it comes to cleaning up the rubbish, council is responsible for areas including local road reserves, some drainage reserves and public open space that is managed by council.
Greater Shepparton City Council Manager Works and Waste, Heinz Kausche said, “Council is actively working in partnership with the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and Parks Victoria to reduce illegal dumping of rubbish.
“There are significant environmental and social costs associated with illegal dumping of waste that impact on the community. The illegal dumping of waste pollutes the environment and significantly diminishes the use, enjoyment and value of our public places for residents and tourists.
“The social costs associated with illegal dumping of rubbish are difficult to quantify, however it clearly makes our natural areas and public spaces look dirty and uncared for, unpleasant to be in, and less likely to be used by the public. The Environment Protection Authority refers to the social impacts of illegal dumping including reduced community pride and reduced property values. This in turn can lead to other illegal activities and antisocial behaviour.
Fines for littering can be issued under section 45 of the Environment Protection Act 1970.
“Council, the EPA and Parks Victoria have officers authorised under the act to investigate and prosecute those that illegally dump waste and litter.
“Officers may issue on the spot fines of $317 or commence legal action.
“Council budgets in the order of $20,000 for the clean up of illegally dumped rubbish, but the cost to the community is much higher.
“Once notified of the incident, council will make every effort to respond within one working day. If the material poses an immediate risk to the community requiring a more immediate response, council will endeavour to respond to make safe within four hours.
“Council relies on the community to report incidents of illegal dumping of rubbish. The clean up of illegally dumped rubbish can sometimes be missed if not reported,” Heinz said.
Parks Victoria Area Chief Ranger, Andrew McDougallsaid, “Rubbish dumping is destructive to the environment and visitor enjoyment of Victoria’s beautiful natural areas.
“Parks Victoria recently removed 32 cars from parks and reserves that we manage in the Shepparton.
“The money that is being spent on removing rubbish, could be far better used for maintaining and improving facilities in our parks and forests.
“We encourage the public to continue to report rubbish dumping and other illegal activity, and help protect our public forests, waterways and natural spaces.
“As well as the on-the-spot fines, offenders can also be prosecuted in court under Section 45E of the Environment Protection Act 1970, which carries a maximum penalty of $6,342.”
Instances of illegal dumping can be reported to Parks Victoria on 1319 63 or via email to [email protected], the EPA Pollution Hotline on 1300 372 842 or Greater Shepparton City Council on (03) 5832 9700.