Illegal dumpers take note. You’re under surveillance.
For the past five years the Regional Illegal Dumping (RID) prevention program has been quietly targeting dumping hotspots and seeking to identify offenders.
Through the use of cameras, regular blitzes and the trialling of surveillance devices such as drones, rangers are gathering and sharing intelligence, launching investigations and working to reduce access to known hotspots. Coordinated by the Illawarra Shoalhaven Joint Organisation of Councils (ISJO) and jointly funded by the NSW EPA under the Waste Less Recycle More Initiative, the program has resulted in more than 5000 incidents being investigated across the Illawarra, South Coast and Southern Highlands.
ISJO Chief Executive Leanne Taylor says the program, which is supplemented with funding by the NSW Environment Protection Authority, has strengthened the work of councils in Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama, Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla, Bega and Wingecarribee to combat illegal dumping.
“Illegal dumping is a problem faced by most communities across the region, not only councils but other land agencies such as National Parks, Crown lands and Aboriginal Lands’ councils,” she said.
“The RID program is providing councils with access to additional resources to investigate and clean up, undertake prevention measures at hotspots and identify offenders.
“Not only does illegal dumping cost councils money to clean up, the impact on the environment is significant. It’s important that everyone does their bit to reduce the problem, most critically by reporting any illegal dumping activity to the relevant authorities.”
Regional Illegal Dumping Prevention Coordinator James Vincent is responsible for advanced investigation and the surveillance training of rangers along with the coordination of gathered intelligence from across the state.
He says that improved training for rangers along with advancements in surveillance mean dumpers should beware.
“Our research indicates illegal dumping offenders are predominantly male and aged between 18 and 45,” he said. “The most commonly dumped items include building and demolition waste, excavated material, green waste and mixed household waste such as televisions, computers, tyres and mattresses.
“Along with signage encouraging people to report illegal dumping and blocking access to many known hot spots, we have also installed cameras, conduct regular site blitzes and use devices like drones to monitor our region. This means dumpers never know when we will be watching for them.”
With fines starting at $2,000 for individuals and $8,000 for companies, and capable of exceeding $120,000 should a case go to court, residents are being encouraged to use the many services provided by councils to dispose of waste.
These include kerbside collections, electronic waste and chemical collections along with local waste management facilities.
The community is also being encouraged to report illegally dumped material along with any suspicious activity involving the transport and dumping of waste. To report illegal dumping search online for “report illegal dumping” to go to www.ridonline.epa.nsw.gov.au or contact your local council.