Price tag on ditched trash
- By Julia Wade
Deliberately dumped rubbish left to fester in the beauty of Kaipara’s countryside not only causes harm to the natural environment and is offensive to the eyes, but also comes at a price to residents.
Kaipara District Council’s Infrastructure Technical Officer, Donna Powell, says to clean up waste from around the region cost Kaipara ratepayers over $45,000 through the 2016/17 year.
“Probably the worst or most expensive cost to ratepayer is residents’ use of black bags instead of the official council bags. This costs Council $3.10 per bag for the contractor to collect them, totalling $20,124,” she says. “The balance of the total amount, nearly $25,000, was spent on retrieving illegal dumping which was reported to council through the service request system.”
Throughout the 2016/17 year, KDC received 91 reports from residents regarding rubbish discarded on public land including household trash, general litter and even dead animal carcasses.
One Kaiwaka resident, who didn’t want to be named, witnessed waste being dumped on a neighbour’s bare land in mid-August.
“It was around midday on a Wednesday and I saw a six wheeler tip-truck with a faded red cab back up to this area and unlock the tailgate,” he says. “At first I thought, as it was on a private road in the middle of the day, it was someone dumping a load of dirt. But when I looked out again after a short while, the truck was gone and I saw a pile of what I thought was tyres. On closer inspection however, it appeared to be site clean-up waste with a lot of building debris, tyres and all sorts of rubbish in it.”
The man reported the dumping to the council, however Powell says that as this incident occurred on private property, it is not up to Council to arrange for removal of the rubbish.
“There is a bylaw, 408.1, that covers these events which states ‘No person carrying out a business, construction, demolition, manufacture, process, trade, market or other undertaking shall cause or permit an accumulation of trade waste to remain in or about the premises, occupied by that person’,” she says. “So the person who owns the land would instead be responsible for the dumped rubbish accumulated on their property.”
However under the Litter Act 1979, offenders who have been identified as depositing waste on private property without the consent of the owner, or on public land, can be fined up to $5000 for an individual and $20,000 for a company. The court may also order offenders to clear the waste in addition to the fine.
n Report sightings of dumped rubbish on public or private property to KDC on 0800 727 059 or Environmental Hotline 0800 504 639.
ILLEGAL: A sample of dumped waste with the ratepayer left to pick up the removal bill.