With more than 700 recorded incidents of illegal dumping totalling 478 tonnes in 2016/17, the cost to council is more than $100,000 a year.
Byron Shire Council has ramped up its campaign targeting illegal dumping with surveillance and monitoring of ‘hotspot’ areas now underway.
Staff are patrolling suburbs looking for illegal dumping and rubbish left on kerbsides, or footpaths, and in public areas.
Council’s Waste Education and Compliance Officer Kate Akkerman, says that illegal dumping is a significant issue in the Byron Shire.
‘In 2016/17 we recorded more than 700 incidents of illegal dumping of all sorts of things including household rubbish, furniture, mattresses and garden waste,’ she said.
‘Cleaning up rubbish from public areas is costing Council more than $100,000 and that money could be better spent on community projects.
Ms Akkerman says the as well as increased monitoring and surveillance of certain areas, council are expanding their use of surveillance cameras, improving lighting and installing gates in some locations.
‘People can be fined up to $8,000 for leaving rubbish on the footpath,’ she said.
Ms Akkerman says the most frequently asked question is why we don’t have an annual kerbside bulky waste collection service. ‘While we have offered this service in the past in Byron Shire, it actually led to more illegal dumping.
‘People were dumping rubbish in large public piles and leaving rubbish on the kerbside for months and it was not only ugly, it was dangerous for pedestrians and harboured vermin such as rats and mice.
‘It also resulted in the risk of pollution of waterways and the natural environment.’
All councils in the Northern Rivers, and many councils across NSW have stopped offering kerbside collection services for these reasons.
‘We now instead offer people a free annual drop-off of up to 150kg of bulk waste and 500kg of green waste at the Myocum Byron Resource and Recovery Centre in Myocum,’ said Ms Akkerman.
‘We are also encouraging our community to try and reduce the volume, and take responsibility for, the waste we generate. This can achieved through buying furniture/items that are made to last, or by selling, reusing or donating old items that still have life left in them’
Byron Shire Council has received a $79,000 grant from the NSW Environment Protection Authority funded by the Waste Levy to help combat illegal dumping and this will be used for a range of programs including education campaigns.
‘We are working with local real estate offices and they will be giving our “waste education packs” to new and existing tenants so they have information about our waste and recycling services and how to get access to a our annual free drop-off service of up to 150kg of bulk waste.
‘We have set a goal of reducing the number of illegal dumping incidents in the Byron Shire by 30% by 2020 so this is something that we will be working hard on for the next several years,’ she said.
People wanting to report illegal dumping should call 6626 7000 or go to www.ridonline.edpa.gov.au.
Illegal Dumping Facts
• In 2016/17 there was 468 tonnes of illegally dumped waste found in the Byron Shire.
• Illegal dumping costs Council more than $100,000/year
• The dumping of green waste spreads weeds and exotic species into public reserves, dunes, bushland and parks.
• Rubbish dumped on footpaths and in bushland attracts vermin and is dangerous to pedestrians.
• Byron Shire Council has a goal of reducing illegal dumping incidents by 30% by 2020.