Illegal dumping is a major problem and crime that not many people know about. Its damage extends way further than most people would have imagined. The NSW government has put in place heavy penalties to curb this illegal act by funding $65 million in the Illegal Dumping Program. However, the root cause of the problem lies in our behaviours and heavy fines won’t be enough to change many people’s mindsets.
To combat illegal dumping, we need to learn about the dangers of illegal dumping and educate others on the right things to do. This way, we will create a beautiful environment for ourselves, vital wildlife and future generations.
What is illegal dumping?
Illegal dumping is the unlawful disposal of any type of waste larger than litter (the type you would put in your wheelie bin) on land or water without approval. Illegal dumping of waste can vary from small bags of rubbish in a city to tonnes of waste dumped in isolated areas such as bushland.
Why is illegal dumping a problem?
Illegal dumping affects all aspects of life, and most people don’t realize it. That is the problem.
The three main consequences of illegal dumping are health and safety concerns, environmental damage and financial burdens.
Health and safety concerns
Dumping rubbish in your local neighbourhood not only looks bad but has an impact on the people that live there. Dumped rubbish can block access to pathways and driveways. This is not only inconvenient but a hazard to people using the pathways, this is especially concerning for the elderly and those with impairments that rely on accessible paths to get around.
If illegally dumped rubbish contains toxic materials, such as chemicals, asbestos and fuel, these can seep into the ground contaminating bushland and local water sources. Overall this can have a damaging effect on humans and wildlife. Illegally placed wooden materials such as furniture and construction waste can become a fire risk if dumped illegally.
Pollution from waste often ends up in rivers and eventually drifts into the ocean. This can damage environmental habitats and waterways for humans, animals and native plants.
Animals and marine creatures can also ingest this rubbish from thousands of kilometres away. Have you seen pictures of turtles trapped in plastic or heard the news that a pregnant whale died with 50 pounds of plastic inside her stomach? A random act of illegal dumping could end up causing unnecessary tragedies like this.
To keep our city tidy and people safe, millions of dollars are invested in cleaning up the mess. This is a lot of money that didn’t need to be spent this way.
Also, many materials that could be recycled or repurposed are dumped irresponsibly, not only harming the environment but also attracting others to think “This is okay, I’ll just do the same”. Things like garden waste, beverage containers, fridges, computers, and car parts are valuable resources that can be recycled.
It is estimated that more than $500,000 was spent on cleaning up illegally dumped rubbish in Sydney. Moreover, other legitimate businesses may be affected by others’ illegal waste.
What are some examples of illegal dumping?
Illegal dumping is a crime that can be committed by both individuals and companies:
- Placing unwanted household items on the footpath.
- Dumping rubbish in the bush or on the side of a road.
- Businesses who are paid to correctly dispose of commercial waste but instead dump it on land or in waterways without proper approval.
What are the most common illegally dumped items?
All kinds of waste are illegally dumped, the most common waste is household junk.
- White goods (fridges, dishwashers, washing machines).
- Furniture (desks, couches, mattresses, bed frames).
- Garden waste.
- Building waste (construction and demolition materials).
- Tyres and car bodies.
Is Illegal dumping a crime?
Yes. Illegal dumping is a crime that can lead to serious consequences. Hefty penalties are in place to stop these crimes, however, the amount of rubbish illegally dumped is still increasing.
Illegal dumping Fines and Penalties
- On the spot fine: $4000 for individuals and if caught in the act by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), the fine is $7500. For corporations, the amounts are $8,000 or $15,000 by EPA.
- Strict liability waste dumping offences: Maximum penalty of $250,000 for an individual and $1,000,000 for a corporation.
- Wilful disposal of waste causing actual or likely harm to the environment: Maximum penalty of $1,000,000, and or 7 years in prison for an individual. Maximum penalty of $5,000,000 for a corporation.
Where can you report illegal dumping in Sydney?
Local councils can help handle illegal dumping for junk of small items on private property, council parks and beaches. For bigger size dumping such as tonnes of waste that pose a serious threat to public health or environment, the Environmental Protection Authority will step in to investigate the crime.
You could also report illegal dumping to the local police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. In case of an emergency, you should call 000 immediately.
How can you remove waste responsibly?
Now we have covered why illegal dumping is unattractive, unethical and very problematic. You can start making things right by first never doing it yourself. Do the right thing by following these easy steps:
- Take your waste to the right place – bins, recycling factories, charities or council pick up.
- Ensure that rubbish and recycling are sorted and placed in the right bin.
- For businesses, contract a waste collection company like Cheapest Load of Rubbish. You don’t need to worry about illegal dumping when the experts handle it.
How can you prevent illegal dumping?
Of course, you cannot do it alone. There are ways that you could prevent others from illegal dumping:
- Report illegal rubbish dumping.
- When someone disposes of waste on your behalf, get proof of appropriate disposal, such as tip dockets from your contractor.
- Share this article to your friends and family to help raise public awareness.
How can professional rubbish removal companies help?
If you are still in doubt whether you would accidentally be involved in illegal dumping, a professional rubbish removal company can take the stress off your shoulders. Cheapest Load of Rubbish is a leading rubbish removal company in Sydney that has over 30 years of experience.
Whether you need to get rid of household junk, commercial waste or construction junk, Cheapest Load of Rubbish can handle it. Then, sit back and relax. Your rubbish will be taken care of with health, safety, environment and cost in mind. Together, we can create a sustainable and clean environment for many future generations to enjoy!