Piles of discarded rubbish at much-loved landmarks in Rotorua have sparked calls for a crackdown, as residents take matters into their own hands.

The illegal dumping costs the Rotorua Lakes Council $100,000 a year but the last time it issued a dumping fine was February 2016.

Last weekend, resident Nathan Fletcher filmed the Ohinemutu shoreline of Lake Rotorua littered with plastic bottles, beer cans, and other household waste.

Nathan Fletcher found an area of household rubbish in Lake Rotorua near Ohinemutu. Photo / File
Nathan Fletcher found an area of household rubbish in Lake Rotorua near Ohinemutu. Photo / File

Disgusted community members are now helping him organise a clean-up day with council.


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Meanwhile, Bernie Hermens has spent two and a half days picking up rubbish on Mountain Rd in the last week alone.

On Sunday, August 26, he went for a walk up Mt Ngongotahā and saw "cans everywhere".

"It pissed me off," he said.

"People are just backing up and ditching their waste down the banks. They have no respect for pure, clean, green New Zealand."

He said it was "sad" people like him were left to clean it up.

Bernie Hermens is frustrated by the dumped rubbish on Mountain Rd. Photo / Stephen Parker
Bernie Hermens is frustrated by the dumped rubbish on Mountain Rd. Photo / Stephen Parker

In councillor Charles Sturt's opinion, "they should not have to do it".

The Rotorua Lakes Council's current approach focuses on education and working alongside community led clean-ups.

Sturt wanted to see more prosecutions and rubbish fines instead.

"The sooner we name and shame these people the better."

He said the people who were being educated on rubbish disposal were not the ones breaking the rules.

"The time for education is over, people know it's illegal."

He called for a "full-time rubbish warden" in Rotorua.

"We need a council staff member to focus on it. To investigate where it is happening and who is doing it, to frequently patrol the worst-hit sites and check the CCTV."

Council infrastructure general manager Stavros Michael said council wanted "to encourage residents to look for alternatives to dumping like scrap metal yards, second-hand stores if the items are still in good condition, or sharing trailers".

"Also consider asking a friend, neighbour or another member of your whānau if they have space in their wheelie bin."

He said prosecution came at a "significant cost" to council with no guarantee of a positive result.

Offenders could be fined up to $400 if council had evidence that would stand up in court such as a witness or CCTV footage that would clearly identify the person.

"Mail or other material with personal details in dumped rubbish that could identify the offender but it is considered only circumstantial evidence," Michael said.

"We urge residents to be vigilant in reporting and discouraging illegal dumping."

Butcher Kevin Barker, who had worked beside Mangakakahi Stream for the past 20 years said illegal dumping had always been a problem there but worsened "in the last couple of years".

He said he had seen "nappies, condoms, TVs, lots of plastic bottles and even a sink" dumped in the last year alone, where the waterway runs parallel to Sunset Rd.

"We need to be a lot tougher on the offending. There has got to be more fines. In my opinion, we have too many parking wardens and not enough people focusing on rubbish around town."

Councillor Tania Tapsell said the current focus on community education was working.

"As disappointing as the current issue in Rotorua is, we are still ahead of other districts such as Taupō who spend twice the amount on illegal dumping."

She said the council supported community led clean-ups every second weekend.

"Council hold regular free workshops for the community such as the one tonight [Tuesday] on zero-waste 'The Rubbish Trip'."