14.3 C
Byron Shire
July 1, 2022

Time to dump on illegal dumpers

Latest News

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If you’ve been in the habit of offloading your excess garbage by the side of the road instead of the tip, be warned. Big Brother is watching you from the sky!

This week the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and Lismore, Ballina and Byron councils discovered what they believe to be 43 potential illegal dumping sites as part of Operation Northern Hawkeye.

The EPA sent a team of state and local government investigators into the skies on Tuesday to get a bird’s eye view of illegal waste activities on the north coast.

The aerial surveillance operation photographed and GPS-recorded the 43 potential sites and both EPA and council staff will follow up with on-ground investigations.

Offenders who can be identified will be slapped with cleanup notices and may also be hit with heavy fines.

The EPA’s director of waste and resource recovery, Steve Beaman, said illegal waste dumpers are generally evasive operators who often travel many kilometres to find remote and secluded places to dump waste and spoil bushland or farmland.

Taking to the skies gives investigators an opportunity to identify illegal landfills and new waste-activity hotspots, which increases the odds of catching illegal dumpers in the act.

‘We want illegal dumpers to get the message that there are now more chances than ever before that you will be caught and it could cost you a $5000 on-the-spot fine plus expensive cleanup costs or up to $5 million if the matter goes to court,’ Mr Beaman said.

‘As well as spoiling the natural beauty of the north coast, illegal waste activity can contaminate sensitive land and waterways and jeopardise the health of neighbours and workers.’

You can report illegal waste dumping to the Environment Line 24 hours a day on 131 555. People should look out for vehicle registrations and other identifying information so offenders can be caught and penalised.

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