13 January 2016

Illegal dumping of domestic and commercial rubbish in public areas, or fly tipping, is on the rise again, prompting the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the Whakatāne District Council to remind the community of the financial, social and environmental costs for the community.

Several problem areas are seeing large amounts of rubbish deposited, attracting vermin and pests and increasing clean-up costs.

Whakatāne District Council General Manager Planning, Regulatory and Corporate Services, David Bewley, said that one way or another, the community is paying for the clean-up.

“Anecdotally, we are seeing an increase in the amount of rubbish being dumped – this is more than just fast food packaging being thrown from a car. What we are seeing is areas where people are clearly dumping trailer or ute loads of rubbish straight on to a stopbank or alongside a rural road. It costs ratepayers a significant amount of money to clean these areas up again. Dumping on this scale will often be seen by someone passing by and we’re appealing for anyone who does see illegal dumping to come forward with information so that we can identify those responsible,” Mr Bewley said.

However, with such a large amount of household rubbish being dumped, often the best evidence is found ‘in situ’. Where there is a clear indication of who the rubbish belongs to, Councils will follow up and issue fines or invoice the dumpers for the cost of cleaning up the mess.

Another agency often left to pick up the mess fly tippers leave behind is the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. Where dumping takes place on or near our waterways, the Regional Council gets involved.

Rivers and Drainage Manager, Bruce Crabbe, said the costs were more than just financial.

“These waterways are used for food and recreation by many people every day. The run-off from illegally dumped rubbish near a waterway, or from illegally butchered and dumped animal carcases thrown in the water travels down our streams and rivers. While we do our best to clean up rubbish as soon as we are aware of it, it shouldn’t be there in the first place.

“I agree that the best way forward is to ensure that the people who dump rubbish know that the rest of the community won’t accept it – report it if you see it.

“We are also looking into other ways of gathering evidence, such as hidden cameras in problem areas. However, the simplest solution for us is to lock gates in problem areas to prevent access outside daylight hours. This would be an inconvenience for those who legitimately use these access roads for things like fishing or launching boats, but unless we see a significant reduction in fly tipping, we will be forced to do something to protect our waterways and the health of the community,” Mr Crabbe said.

If you see flytipping:

If possible, make a note of the vehicle type, colour and registration number, and a description of the person fly-tipping.  Report the incident  to WDC or BOPRC, even if you were not able to take these details. Please try to provide us with a clear description of both the type of materials involved and the exact location.