Illegal dumping of waste continues to concern both industry and Government alike particularly due to the harmful environmental impacts it can have on our ecology, coupled with the inevitable clean-up costs.
As we celebrate National Recycling Week, it is a timely reminder that incorrect management of waste and recycling can have serious environmental impacts.
According to the Local Government Association of South Australia, illegal dumping is, “ the unlawful deposit onto land of waste larger than litter, or in other words, waste materials dumped, tipped or otherwise deposited onto private or public land where no license or approval exists to accept such waste.’
There are many reasons as to why people might dump rubbish illegally of which these can be categorised into either financial concerns - wanting to avoid tipping/ disposal fees, or social concerns - a lack of effort in transporting the waste to a certified landfill.
Common types of waste dumped illegally can include: household rubbish, construction and demolition waste, organic material, larger items like mattresses or furniture, abandoned vehicles, e-waste or chemicals and other hazardous wastes. As a result, illegally dumping these forms of waste is considerable; not only can dumped rubbish leach harmful contaminates into surrounding bushland/ waterways, degrading plant and animal habitats, reducing biodiversity and hindering vegetation; but it can also affect drainage and potentially cause grassfires or bushfires; and they’re just the environmental costs!
The financial costs of removing illegal dumps is costly, with the NSW local government estimated to spend more than $10 million dollars per year in removing and properly disposing of these materials. Additionally, illegal dumping creates a noticeable eyesore to our otherwise pristine environment.
In 2009, Veolia Environmental Services Queensland was contacted by the State Department for Infrastructure and Planning who requested the remediation of an illegal dump in bushland on Curtis Island, off the coast of Gladstone. The illegal dump largely consisted of car bodies, general domestic rubbish as well as agricultural wastes.
Visit our Specialty Services section for more information about Veolia's remediation efforts.
What can you do about illegal dumping?
Ensure you dispose of all waste and discarded items in an environmentally responsible manner; you can do this by understanding when your council has arranged a collection, as well as identifying the locations of which you can dispose of waste materials safely.
Are your waste materials recyclable? If so, simply contact your local council or nearest resource recovery operator for more information on recovery services.
Governmental fines for illegal dumping vary greatly from state to state; if you see someone dumping large items of rubbish, report them to your local council who will investigate.
Local Government Association of South Australia
Clean Up Australia
Office of Environment and Heritage