Cameras will be installed in an effort to catch people fly-tipping at rural rubbish collection sites while the district's rural waste collection is being reviewed in an effort to combat what has become an ongoing problem.
The refuse collection point on the corner of Longacre and Kaimatira Roads was overflowing on Friday afternoon, highlighting the issue of fly-tipping from Whanganui City residents in rural areas.
Whanganui District Council waste adviser Stuart Hylton said it would conduct a review of the rural waste process over the next six months, and cameras would be placed at collection points in an effort to "catch offenders".
"It's ridiculous that people are willing to drive out of town to dump their rubbish," Hylton said.
"We are very aware of these issues, and, unfortunately, I don't think they'll ever go away in totality.
"The original contractor will do specified work to clean up these sites, but their vehicles can only do certain works, so larger items require a second contractor."
While rural rubbish collections were scheduled for once a week, any unstickered bags or miscellaneous waste such as whiteware and furniture were not picked up.
Hylton said there was "some provision" for the primary contractor to do some of the additional clean-up work.
"Obviously, we'd rather that wasn't needed, but it certainly happens on most of those rural drop-off points.
"We even go through some of the non-compliant bags to try to get information, but the other, larger stuff, you wouldn't know where it came from.
"We have instigated putting some cameras in at a couple of the sites at different times, and we will be doing a full review of all the rural bag drop-off points, bag collection points and bin collection points.
"There are three different services, and they'll all be reviewed to see what's working and what isn't."
Hylton said there had previously been a number of unconsented landfills throughout the Whanganui District, and that, although the current authorised sites were "unsightly" at times, they were at least in an area where they "could be dealt with".
"I don't want to do away with those sites, and people just dump their stuff willy-nilly, and that's what this upcoming review is all about, thinking of solutions that will meet everyone's needs.
"Nobody wants this mess in their backyard, and I totally understand that."
Hylton said that the cost of waste disposal nationally would rise due to increased Government levies on landfills.
"That in itself is a double-edged sword because as levies get higher the idea of waste minimisation becomes more attractive, but people will also look to take shortcuts as well."
Chairman of the Whanganui Rural Community Board Grant Skilton said that the cost of fly-tipping inevitably fell on Whanganui ratepayers.
"It's the whole community's burden at the end of the day, because it doesn't come free," Skilton said.
"The council will clean it up, but ultimately it's at the ratepayers' expense, just like any other rubbish that's dumped on the side of the road."
Skilton said that from a community perspective, rural refuse points were a better solution than rubbish going "over a riverbank or into the river", but there was still "a significant cost".
"The question that will come up in the next six months will be, does rubbish collection become a part of the rates, in other words, a fixed cost to everybody?
"That in turn could promote irresponsibility, so it's a bit of a Catch-22 situation."
"The whole scenario is in the melting pot at the moment, with the review of rural rubbish as a whole."
Whanganui farmer Andrew Horrocks, who complained to the council in March about the Kawhaiki Rd collection spot, said that while that particular area had improved, other locations were still feeling the effects of illegal dumping.
"It's a regular occurrence at that particular spot (Longacre), and it's bloody dangerous when you come off the bridge and there are bags out on the road," Horrocks said.
"I've actually run over bags to miss cars.
"There's no question that it's fly dumping, and it's still happening at our site too, with people just opening up the car door and throwing their s*** on the ground."