A Whanganui campaign against illegal rubbish dumping may ask people to dob in "tossers".

The number of complaints about household rubbish being illegally dumped in public places have increased and Whanganui councillors are supporting a campaign to stop it.

As the cost of disposing of rubbish has increased in the last 18 months, the number of complaints about illegal dumping has jumped nearly 50 per cent, Whanganui District Council's property and community services committee was told on April 2.

There were 314 complaints about fly tipping in 2018, up from 221 the previous year.


The council's waste advisor, Stuart Hylton, said the cost of disposal will go up further, which will compound the problem. But fly tipping has been happening for decades and some people will always do it.

The council has a litter team and it puts up physical barriers to stop people dumping. It has two fixed and one mobile camera to record dumpings. Councillors were not told their location.

It also has warning signs - frequently vandalised - and informants who report dumping so material can be removed quickly before it attracts copycats.

In the last five years it has issued five infringements, but no prosecutions. Compliance manager Warrick Zander said clear evidence of the person dumping the rubbish was needed for a successful prosecution - a name in the rubbish or a car registration was not enough.

A clear video taken on a smartphone would work, he said.

Council officers put forward four possible actions. They could employ more staff, use more cameras, increase education or start a campaign.

Councillors especially liked the campaign idea. Rob Vinsen knows of one in another centre, with signs asking people to dob in "tossers" or, on rubbish bins, signs saying "Thanks for not being a tosser".

"We've got to appeal to people's sense of responsibility. The people in this room wouldn't wind down a car window and toss rubbish out. We've got to instil that guilt into people that are practising this act," he said.