Kim Fulton is a NZME. News Service regional reporter

800kg of rubbish at one spot

Rubbish dumped illegally at Hikurangi last year.
Rubbish dumped illegally at Hikurangi last year.

Northland councils have dealt with hundreds of cases of illegally dumped rubbish in the past year.

They include one area where more than 800kg of rubbish was cleared - costing ratepayers tens of thousands of dollars in clean-up costs.

Whangarei District Council spent nearly $100,000 and 1000 hours cleaning up after "fly tippers" or illegal dumpers in the financial year to the end of May, according to council figures.

The local authority dealt with about 833 incidences of illegal dumping over the period.

Cleaning up cost $98,671 including tipping fees and took up 980 hours of council time, including time spent travelling to the sites of the rubbish.

WDC figures show 124 infringements worth $42,850 were issued over the litter.

The dumpings included 820kg of rubbish at the roadside between Maungatapere and Titoki, which three men cleared over four days in July. The Far North District Council received about 546 reports of illegally dumped rubbish in the year to the end of April.

FNDC figures showed 76 fines were issued for illegal dumping over the same period, with 10 paid, 25 waived and 49 sent to court.

Trudy Crerar, a founding member of Far North environmental group Clean Waters to the Sea, said those behind the dumpings had no empathy for the environment where their children or grandchildren would grow up.

"It's a great shame because I would expect that most people who grow up or come to live in the Far North would have respect for themselves and their environment and each other."

She said batteries and various chemicals could leach from the rubbish into the waterways.

Illegal dumping was a country-wide issue but the Far North suffered in particular because of its low socioeconomic make-up and the high cost of recycling rubbish, said Ms Crerar.

Kaipara District Council figures show 82 instances of illegally dumped rubbish dealt with by the council over the past 12 months with those responsible caught in 79 cases and dealt with through infringements, warnings and recovery fees.

Northland Regional Council compliance monitoring manager Tess Dacre said the council had dealt with 12 instances of illegally dumped rubbish in the year to mid-May.

In four cases, those responsible were caught. In three cases they were fined $750 and in one case they were fined $300.

- Northern Advocate

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