Dumping of rubbish rife in forests

Illegally dumped rubbish is a growing problem around Dunedin's forests. Photo supplied.
Illegally dumped rubbish is a growing problem around Dunedin's forests. Photo supplied.
Animal carcasses, broken televisions, old cars and household waste are being dumped in Dunedin's forests.

Illegal rubbish dumping, which can cost culprits $7500, has become an increasing problem for Wenita Forest Products Ltd.

Chief executive David Cormack said over the past 18 months his staff had discovered a wide variety of waste, in growing volumes, on forestry land at Brighton, Berwick and Waihola.

''It does surprise us at times just how far people are prepared to travel to dump rubbish illegally. They are better off paying the transfer station fee for more convenience, and it doesn't have the consequences,'' Mr Cormack said.

Under the Litter Act 1979, people who illegally dump rubbish can be fined up to $7500 if the rubbish is deemed harmful to health and can also be made to cover the cost of rubbish removal.

In many cases, the dumping of non-harmful rubbish results in fines of up to $400.

Mr Cormack said some of the worst rubbish dumping occurred on forestry land along Big Stone Rd, just south of Brighton.

His staff have found household waste, abandoned cars, toxic rubbish including old televisions and computers, furniture and even animal remains.

''Around Big Stone Rd, hunters are dumping animal carcasses and offal on a regular basis,'' Mr Cormack said.

Sometimes staff found evidence identifying offenders, such as bills with names and addresses, items that were passed on to the police, he said.

The Dunedin City Council was also alerted to illegally dumped rubbish.

Mr Cormack said it was an issue for other forestry companies and private property owners, but little could be done to prevent it.

''It's a problem anywhere that's a little bit off the beaten track. I'm not sure when people do it, but presumably under the cover of darkness.''

He said some rubbish, including old cars, posed a fire risk and other waste was harmful to the environment.

''You wouldn't pull up to Logan Park and start turfing out your rubbish along the side of the road, and our forests are no different.''


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