The Southland District Council has expressed concern over the alarming increase in illegal rubbish dumping near towns and rivers. This escalating problem, known as fly tipping, has become prevalent as transfer station fees have risen by 15%. Community boards and concerned citizens have reported numerous instances of fly tipping occurring on the outskirts of towns, gravel roads, and riverbanks. The discarded items found in these areas range from household rubbish, mattresses, whiteware, animal carcases, tires, and electronics.
Mike Bourke, the council’s strategic water and waste manager, believes that the surge in fly tipping is a response to the dissatisfaction among people who are already burdened with the rising costs of transfer station fees and living expenses. The increase in transfer station fees was implemented in July due to the mounting landfill, recycling, and operational expenses. Furthermore, the government levy on waste sent to landfills is set to increase from $10 to $60 per tonne between 2021 and 2024, which has also contributed to the rise in tip fees.
District mayor Rob Scott emphasized that the illegal dumping of rubbish beside roads and rivers is not a solution. He pointed out that while individuals may perceive it as a way to save money, the burden ultimately falls on ratepayers as the council has to bear the cost of cleaning up these areas. Not only does this impose a financial strain, but it also poses a significant threat to the environment.
To address this issue, Mike Bourke urged residents to report any instances of illegal dumping. The council can issue fines under the Litter Act to discourage this irresponsible behavior. Additionally, Paul Evans, an Environment Southland councillor, is actively involved in cleaning up roadside litter in the Fiordland area. While he has not witnessed significant fly tipping, he acknowledges that the indiscriminate disposal of rubbish remains a growing concern.
Illegal rubbish dumping not only tarnishes the natural beauty of Southland but also endangers its fragile ecosystems. It is imperative for the community to come together, report any instances of dumping, and work towards creating a cleaner and more sustainable environment for future generations.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. What is fly tipping?
Fly tipping refers to the illegal act of disposing of waste illegally, often outside designated areas, such as on the roadside or by rivers.
2. Why has there been an increase in fly tipping in Southland?
The rise in fly tipping in Southland can be attributed to the dissatisfaction with the increased transfer station fees, combined with the overall cost of living increases. The costs associated with waste management, landfill, recycling, and operational expenses have driven up tipping fees, leading some individuals to resort to illegal dumping.
3. What are the consequences of illegal rubbish dumping?
Illegal rubbish dumping poses significant risks to the environment, including contamination of soil, water, and air, as well as harm to wildlife. It also places a financial burden on local authorities and ratepayers who have to bear the cost of cleaning up the dumped waste.
4. How can I report instances of illegal rubbish dumping?
Residents can report instances of illegal rubbish dumping to their local council or waste management authorities. Providing detailed information, such as the location, type of waste, and any relevant evidence, will aid in the enforcement of penalties and deter future instances of illegal dumping.