Illegal rubbish dumping widespread

By Kim Fulton

1 comment
ILLEGAL: Rubbish dumped at South Beach.PHOTO/FILE
ILLEGAL: Rubbish dumped at South Beach.PHOTO/FILE

Rubbish has been dumped illegally in the Whanganui district more than 200 times in the past year.

Whanganui District Council legal officer Paul Drake said the council had recorded 226 instances of dumping in the last 12 months.

On June 9, the Wanganui Chronicle reported on a pile of rubbish, much of it recyclable, dumped at the South Beach parking area. Council officers found a name among the material that they would follow up.

Mr Drake said the rubbish had been illegally dumped throughout the district.

"One particular area that is problematic for council is the illegal dumping of rubbish at the designated drop-off sites for rural household rubbish," he said.

One such illegal dumping involved seven tonnes of rubbish likely to have been from a commercial operator. The council thought most other rubbish came from the urban area.

Mr Drake said the council figures included broken glass but not abandoned cars. More cars were being left in public places as the scrap metal price had fallen dramatically, he said.

The council did not record the number of cases where those responsible for illegally dumped rubbish were caught.

Anyone found to have committed "a minor indiscretion", such as putting household rubbish in a public bin, had been verbally warned.

In the past 12 months only one person had been issued with an infringement notice, which came with a fine of $100.

Whanganui district councillor Ray Stevens said those who dumped rubbish illegally claimed charges were excessive at transfer stations, but that was "absolute nonsense".

"If you look at what is being dumped it's mainly alcohol ... if you can afford to drink the quantities being dumped in the empties you can more than afford to pay the small tip charges."

Some town dwellers chose to take dump their rubbish alongside rural bins meant for those in isolated areas who could not get to town.

Mr Stevens said those bags could burst open and rubbish blow into paddocks. He knew of one animal death as a result, a huge cost to a farmer.

He said people took pride in the Whanganui environment and did not want to see illegal dumping.

Spokeswoman for Sustainable Whanganui Lyn Pearson said much of the rubbish ended up in waterways after being blown or washed there.

A lot of it looked like food to sea creatures. Plastic could also prevent marine creatures from diving for food.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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