It's ugly, dirty - and costing us tens of thousand of dollars a year across the Western Bay. In the first of a special series on illegal rubbish dumping, we examine how much money this blot on our beautiful landscape is costing - and meet good people aiming to help clean up our beaches.
Illegal rubbish dumping cost ratepayers nearly $85,000 across Tauranga and Western Bay district last year - and the city is considering security cameras in hotspots to help catch offenders.
Western Bay of Plenty District Council spent nearly $60,000 cleaning up dumped rubbish last year while the city spent about $54,000 in the past three years.
NZME, publisher of the Herald and Bay of Plenty Times wants to help.
We have created an interactive map where you can not only see where rubbish has been dumped around the country but upload details of dumping incidents you see.
Tauranga City Council acting resource recovery and waste manager Cathy Davidson said the cost of cleaning up illegally dumped rubbish was increasing, most likely because of the city's steady population growth.
Davidson said the council received 92 reports of illegal rubbish dumping in just over a month from December 1, 2017, to January 16, 2018.
Council contractors collected about 320 tonnes of illegally dumped rubbish from roadsides, reserves, beside litter bins and down banks between 2015–2018.
Dumped rubbish included furniture, rubbish bags, tyres, bedding and other waste, including 12 dead possums found tied to one of the city's public rubbish bins, Davidson said.
"As for why, [it is] people being lazy and not caring about others in the community or the environment," she said.
Offenders faced a maximum $400 fine if prosecuted under the Litter Act - but so far the council had not caught any culprits.
"TCC is investigating installing CCTV camera in illegal dumping hotspots throughout the city," she said.
Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless said he had mostly noticed illegal rubbish dumping outside charitable organisations.
"It does annoy me when I see rubbish put out near streets or particularly near charitable organisations who are just trying to do their best for the community," Brownless said.
"But unfortunately there is a few who spoil it, there's only a few who are very inconsiderate and seem to think it is everybody else's responsibility."
Brownless said people illegally disposed of their rubbish because they either did not want to pay the small amount to get rid of it or were too lazy to do so.
"I was there [the dump] last weekend for my annual visit to the dump, we usually managed to recycle most things, and it cost me $13 for a reasonable amount of rubbish in the back of our truck."
Brownless' advice was to plan a trip to the dump while running other errands in the same area and be careful what they bought throughout the year to not accumulate too much rubbish.
"Choose your priorities," he said. "I think the worst thing is people dumping rubbish, it is just horrible. It creates a mess and we should be proud of our environment."
Western Bay of Plenty District Mayor Garry Webber said any illegal rubbish dumping was not acceptable in any community.
"Unfortunately in our district which is very large we have a lot of rural roads and some people seem to think that is where they should dispose of their rubbish," Webber said.
"You name it we have seen it. From people dropping their household litter, baby wipes and nappies to burnt-out vehicles and used appliances."
Webber said illegal rubbish dumping was an unnecessary ratepayer cost and the council spent "tens of thousands" of dollars on picking up waste that had been wrongfully disposed of.
"Last year we were close to $60,000," he said.
"We rely on the good graces of people to keep the environment tidy," he said.
Wayne Benge, of SaveMart, emptied the city's clothing bins three times a week and said the bin on Windsor Rd next to Otumoetai Intermediate was one of the worst for dumped rubbish.
"There are toys, old mattresses, paint buckets," Benge said. "Every time we come here there is rubbish."
Benge said he had cleaned up a sheepskin and a bag of rotten fish from inside the clothing bin.
"As I opened the door I could smell it," he said.
Otumoetai Intermediate staff sometimes called to alert SaveMart of the rubbish overflow. "That is part of our job to keep the rubbish away," Benge said.
It was also Benge's job to take the excess rubbish to the dump, which last year cost the company about $100,000 nationwide.
Former Tauranga environmentalist Noel Peterson said despite it being an eyesore illegally dumped rubbish did not cause too much of a problem to the environment unless harmful chemicals were leaking into the land or sea.
"Tyres are a bit of a concern, but a lot of those things wind up being taken over by the environment," Peterson said. "If you take away something that has been there for 50-70 years you are probably doing more harm than good."
Peterson said he discouraged people from dumping their unwanted rubbish.
Tauranga City Council costs:
$11,000 in 2015
$18,000 in 2016
$25,000 last year.
Dumped rubbish collected between 2015-2018:
• Household waste 22.27%
• Furniture 19.60%
• Rubbish Bags 18.04%
• Tyres 15.37%
• Bedding 12.69%
• Other 12.03%