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What do councils think are effective methods to combat dumping?
Councils play a crucial part in managing and preventing illegal dumping in their local area. They are most familiar with local conditions and problems and bear most illegal dumping clean-up costs.
Councils are responding to illegal dumping using a variety of methods, with varying degrees of effectiveness. It is important to note that in most cases what is considered effective is based on anecdotal evidence, rather than on illegal dumping data and program evaluation.
The most effective way to prevent illegal dumping is to use a comprehensive approach based on a range of different methods to deal with the problem specific to the particular area. Unfortunately, what works in one area will not necessarily work in another. It depends on a number of factors, including the particular waste type and the geographic location of the illegal dumping. So, it is necessary to have a full understanding of the problem - what motivates people, what are the incentives, and what causes it - to devise an effective intervention program.
What motivates dumpers?
While there is some variation in what motivates dumpers, depending on the type of waste illegally dumped, there are some recurring themes:
Unwillingness to pay was identified by many councils for all waste types, but particularly for C&D waste and illegal land filling. As many councils, particularly in urban areas, provide either free or subsidised collection and disposal of a wide range of household waste types, this perceived unwillingness to pay needs much closer investigation. On further examination, it may be inability to pay for some low-income groups, or a lack of information about waste disposal options and perceived costs.
Uncaring attitude was mentioned by many councils, particularly in relation to garden organic material and household waste. This attitude could change if people were to receive information about the impacts of illegal dumping on the environment and on government resources.
Convenience was nominated by some councils for all waste types. Given the large number of urban councils that provide special waste collection services for household and garden organic material, this may indicate that residents are unaware of the existence of such services, or do not know how to access them.
Organised networks were noted by many urban councils, which thought that this kind of activity was directly related to illegal landfill and C&D waste.
What is illegally dumped?
- General household rubbish
- Larger domestic items (for example mattresses, furniture and whitegoods)
- Construction, demolition and excavation waste
- Hazardous waste
- Abandoned vehicles, car parts and shopping trolleys.
- Can degrade the land, including plant and animal habitats
- Can destroy local bushland, reduce biodiversity value and hinder revegetation
- Run-off from dump sites may contaminate soil and water sources, such as lakes, creeks and drinking water supplies
- Dumped items can alter normal drainage courses and make areas more susceptible to flooding and erosion if waste blocks creeks, stormwater drains and gutters
- Dumped materials could catch fire, either by spontaneous combustion or arson, which can damage property, bushland and native species
- Illegally-dumped items are a lost resource. Many items can be recycled, particularly garden organic material, beverage containers, fridges, computers, tyres and car bodies.
- Reduces aesthetic amenity and deters people from visiting areas where there is frequent illegal dumping
- Dumped items create physical (protruding nails or sharp edges) and chemical (harmful fluids or dust) hazards for anyone who does visit the site
- Dump sites attract rodents, insects and other vermin that pose health risks. 'Dump sites with scrap tyres provide an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes, which can multiply 100 times faster in the warm stagnant water standing in scrap tyre casings.'
- Thousands of volunteer hours are spent participating in clean-up initiatives, such as Clean Up Australia Day, Keep South Australia Beautiful and Tidy Towns, at a significant cost to the community and its resources
- Dump sites attract further dumping and other criminal activities, such as graffiti and arson, which decrease community pride and further exacerbate the problem.
- South Australian governments are estimated to spend $1.5million a year removing and properly disposing of illegally-dumped materials and land fill. For larger councils, these costs can be as high as $350,000 annually.
- The community bears the cost of lower property prices because the area is less attractive to prospective commercial and residential landowners.
Where does illegal dumping occur?
Illegal dumping occurs on roadsides, including nature strips and highways, bushland, laneways, drains, parks, sporting grounds and private property, including vacant lots.
Is illegal dumping a problem in your area?
- Do people have access to convenient waste disposal facilities or services and recycling programs?
- Are residents aware of what services and facilities are available?
- Are stakeholders actively managing an area? What are the levels of surveillance, prosecution and adverse publicity?
- Are secluded areas of bushland, vacant lots and underused lanes easily and safely accessible?
- How many residents are transient and lack a sense of connectedness to their community?
- How aware are residents of proper disposal methods?
- How long does the council take to clean up the dumped materials?
Who does it?
- Householders who place their unwanted items on the nature strip or in the back lane in the hope that someone will take them, or that council will remove them
- The shop owner who places his or her commercial waste beside or into a public street bin
- Commercial operators who have been paid to dispose of waste appropriately but who choose to dump it instead
- Business and householders who transport and dump their rubbish in other areas
- Builders and contractors who dump construction and demolition waste or hazardous material, such as asbestos and chemicals
Více-more on: http://www.lga.sa.gov.au/page.aspx?u=1894
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