Illegal dumping of hard rubbish appears to be on the rise in Byron Shire, with the council insisting its recent decision to end kerbside pick-ups of bulky goods is not to blame.
After the most recent incident, when a large amount of rubbish was found on Rajah Road, Ocean Shores over the weekend, Byron Shire Council has turned to the community for help to stamp out the problem.
Executive manager of water and recycling, Phil Warner, said ‘if Byron Shire residents see someone illegally dumping, they should contact Council so that it can conduct an investigation into the incident’.
Mr Warner said he believed the previous kerbside pick-up system actually encouraged illegal dumping but it was less obvious.
‘There was a large amount of illegal dumping taking place under the guise of the kerbside pick up system, both before and after the official collection period started. Aside from causing environmental damage, the large amount of illegal dumping was distressing for some residents who had goods dumped near their homes. It was also having a negative impact on community amenity, and posed a safety risk, particularly to young children that might be tempted to explore any dumped goods.
‘The previous system was also limited, as it only applied to residents in urban areas, not those living in rural parts of the Shire. It was preferable that a new system could be implemented that would allow more residents to access the service.’
Mr Warner said that anyone thinking about illegally dumping material could avoid a potential fine or prosecution by taking advantage of Council’s free, bulky-goods drop-off system, which commenced on 1 July.
On-the-spot fines range from $200 for littering by an individual to the more serious offence of dumping waste, which carries a fine of $750 for an individual and $1,500 for a corporation.
Prosecutions for waste dumping have also occurred in the Byron Shire. In 2010 BSC prosecuted a Shire resident who dumped waste, resulting in a $20,000 fine.
‘Since the start of this month, residents can now deposit up to 150 kilograms of bulky goods without charge at the Myocum facility, simply by taking along their rate bill, or a voucher that is based on a residential tenancy agreement if they are a resident not paying rates,’ he said.
Mr Warner added that Council believed the new system provided ‘a more appropriate way for the Byron Shire community to deal with unwanted goods’.
‘On one occasion only per year, residents can drop off up to 150 kilograms of bulky waste at Myocum landfill at no charge. Details of the rate notice or voucher will be registered into a database. Any material exceeding 150 kilograms will be charged at the appropriate fee.’