Litter has gone from being viewed primarily as an aesthetic problem to a broader environmental issue. Individuals that cause littering can have on the spot fines imposed which increase if the littering is deemed to be aggravated such as in the case of broken bottles, lit cigarettes or a syringe. Littering from a vehicle, often while stopped at traffic lights is also a common offence and again financial penalties can be imposed on the owner or driver of the vehicle. Further information is available Environmental Protection Authority website.
This includes all waste materials that have been deposited onto private or public land where no licence or approval exists for the waste to be there. Illegal dumping can vary from small bags of domestic rubbish through to industrial quantities of hazardous materials.
In an urban environment such as North Sydney the common types of waste include:
- General household rubbish
- Larger domestic items (mattresses, furniture and whitegoods)
- Construction, demolition and excavation waste
- Garden organic material
- Hazardous waste
- Abandoned vehicles, car parts and shopping trolleys.
Illegal dumping has environmental costs as the waste can degrade plant and animal habitats and destroy local bush land, reduce biodiversity value and hinder revegetation. Runoff from dump sites may also contaminate soil and water sources, such as rivers, creeks and drinking water supplies. There are also significant financial costs involved. NSW local governments are estimated to spend $10 million a year removing and properly disposing of illegally dumped materials and land fill.
The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 covers both littering and illegal dumping and various enforcement action, from warnings to prosecution, is available to Council to deal with offences. The Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2005 covers the transportation and disposal of waste in more detail and also places specific requirements on the management of special waste such as asbestos.
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) related links below help you take the next steps against illegal dumping.
Or contact: Council Customer Service Centre