Council launches anti-dumping campaign

The community is being asked to report people illegally dumping rubbish in a "Ditch Dirty Dumping" campaign launched recenty by the Waitaki District Council.

The council will also take a tough line with any offenders.

Solid waste officer Gerry O'Neill said the actions of a few people in the district were costing the rest of the community a lot of money.

"Someone's got to pay for cleaning up their mess, and that cost falls back on ratepayers.

On top of that, dirty dumping creates environmental problems, health hazards and a bad image for visitors to our district," he said.

People were already reporting illegal dumping but Mr O'Neill was sure that, with even more help, it could be stopped.

Most people got rid of their rubbish responsibly and were recycling as much as possible to keep the cost down.

"They have a right to be angry with the few dumping rubbish illegally."

There was no excuse for the behaviour.

A lot of the material dumped could have been recycled at no cost.

Some people were dumping rubbish in pre-paid bags.

"Why would you go to the effort of driving out to the country and risk getting caught when it's just as cheap and easy to do the right thing?" Mr O'Neill asked.

The council had various options when illegal dumpers were caught.

Under the Litter Act, it could issue instant fines of up to $400.

There was the option of taking them to court, where they could be fined up to $7500.

The offenders could also be charged for the cost of any clean up, potentially running into tens of thousands of dollars.

The council would not hesitate in taking a hard line with illegal dumpers and always followed up on reports, using a variety of ways to trace the offenders.

The campaign will incorporate advertising and education directed mainly at those in the community who wanted to see illegal dumping stamped out, with some also targeted at the offenders themselves.

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