What is illegal dumping?
Image courtesy of LGAQ
Illegal dumping is the unlawful deposit of waste over 200 litres in volume (about as much as an average wheelie bin holds). In addition, waste over 2 500 litres in volume will attract higher penalties.
Waste dumped illegally commonly includes:
- bags of rubbish
- garden waste
- building material
- household goods, such as whitegoods, mattresses and furniture
- abandoned cars and parts
- hazardous substances.
Why does illegal dumping happen?
People dump waste illegally to avoid disposal fees at landfill sites or because they do not want to spend the time or effort disposing of or recycling their waste properly.
Offenders often go to extraordinary lengths to illegally dispose of waste and avoid detection and prosecution. Ironically, legal disposal may have cost far less in fuel, time and effort.
Why is illegal dumping a problem?
Illegal dumping ruins the image of Queensland and damages its reputation. Sites where waste is dumped illegally:
- degrade the local environment and threatens native wildlife
- reduce property value
- attract more dumping, other illegal activities and antisocial behaviour
- decrease community pride
- cause health and safety risks
- attract vermin and insects, such as mosquitoes and mice
- block drains and waterways causing flooding and erosion damage
- increase the risk of fire hazard
- require time, money and energy to be cleaned and repaired.
Where does illegal dumping occur?
Small amounts of illegally dumped waste are generally found:
- in parks and reserves
- in car parks
- on vacant blocks of land
- beside charity bins, garbage bins or skips.
Larger items are dumped in isolated areas such as bushland reserves, national parks, and industrial or building sites.
Legal disposal and recycling
Illegally dumped items are a lost resource because many items can be recycled, such as:
- organic garden material
- aluminium cans
- car bodies.
Local councils offer a variety of information and services for disposal of excess rubbish, green waste and larger items.
The advice on correct waste disposal is available here.
Reporting illegal dumping
The new Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 gives anyone the opportunity to report littering or illegal dumping from a motor vehicle, trailer or vessel—where a registration number is known and observed by the reporter.
If someone reports illegal dumping from a vehicle, a penalty infringement notice will be issued to the registered owner of the vehicle in the first instance. If the registered owner did not commit the offence, they can lodge a statutory declaration and nominate another driver, another person in the vehicle or vessel who was responsible for the illegal act, or advise of the sale of the vehicle.
The penalties for illegal dumping reflect the seriousness of the offence and range from $1 600 up to $110 000 as the maximum penalty for prosecution of a corporation if contested in court.
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