The instances of people illegally dumping their rubbish where they shouldn't in Tauranga have virtually doubled over the summer holiday season.
Tauranga City Council contractors responded to 121 illegal dumping reports in December and at the start of January, compared to the normal monthly average of 64 reports.
A council spokeswoman said an additional 17 reports were referred to the council's bylaws team to investigate.
Household items such as furniture, bedding and rubbish bags were typically the most common items found dumped, she said.
Usually, the council dispatched a litter contractor to collect and dispose of what had been dumped. If there were any details regarding who might be responsible, the council worked "to educate on the effects of illegal dumping".
"Where offenders are identified, they are usually asked to remove the dumping and dispose of it appropriately. Signage is put up in known hotspots, to act as a deterrent."
Tauranga's worst hotspots include Birch Ave, Cliff Rd, Hartford Ave, Gordon Spratt Reserve and Marine Park.
The spokeswoman said the council had previously taken legal action against offenders "but this very rarely happens".
"We take an educational approach unless we are dealing with a known repeat offender or the dumping is very significant.
"In one incident in 2020, we recovered a portion of the cost associated with disposal from the offender."
The spokeswoman said as illegal dumping increased, so too did the need for funding such as rates to pay for the costs associated with the cleanup.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council, which responds to rubbish in waterways, received four complaints of illegal dumping since December.
Compliance team leader Chris Brewer said all of these cases were dumpings of household rubbish on land and referred to the respective local authorities to investigate. The dumping consisted of car tyres, car bodies, timber, television, fridge, pots, pans and a child's pram.
The regional council was now working on a Pollution Hotline campaign to target Tauranga and Rotorua via digital billboards "which are two of our hotspots across the region".
"The regional council receives about 100 environmental complaints about rubbish dumping each year from across the region, which is approximately 3 per cent of the total calls we receive through our Pollution Hotline," he said.
"Rubbish dumping is not pretty and it comes at a substantial cost to the community, not only financially but socially and environmentally too. While we do our best to clean up rubbish as soon as we are aware of it, it shouldn't be there in the first place."
Brewer said the council often got calls of illegal dumping along Oropi Rd and nearby watercourses.
If anyone sees illegally dumped rubbish, it should be reported to the local council unless it is in or near a waterway, when the regional council's Pollution Hotline 0800 884 883 should be called.
Figures obtained by the Bay of Plenty Times in September revealed hundreds and thousands of dollars were spent cleaning up illegally dumped rubbish from some of the Bay's most pristine locations in the past two years.
They also revealed illegal rubbish dumping was more prevalent in Tauranga than in any other Bay of Plenty centre.
Tauranga environmentalist Mary Dillon said the holiday increase was disappointing but "probably not surprising" given the extra influx of people in town during the holiday break.
"Maybe our own people get careless because there's a bit more cover around the place as it's a bit more busy.
"It just indicates that we still have a lot to do to educate people about waste. We need that fundamental community change about what we do with things that we no longer want."
The city council recorded 450 incidents of illegal rubbish dumping between January and July 2020. In 2019, it responded to 944 cases of illegally dumped rubbish.
In the Western Bay of Plenty district, there were 299 reports of illegal dumping in between January and July 2020 and a total of 365 in 2019.
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council responded to 54 incidents between January and July 2020 and 80 in 2019, which could include reports also made to other councils.