AN INCREASE in the illegal dumping of rubbish in parks and forests in Victoria’s north-east has become a major concern for the Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) department.
If you thought leaving behind loo paper and used tinnies was bad enough, what is most concerning is that forest officers have found junk dumped by what appears to be commercial businesses.
“Illegal dumpers are becoming more and more cunning, and the volumes of waste they are dumping is increasing,” Hume’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Aaron Kennedy, said. “Recently, almost 200 used fire extinguishers were found dumped near the Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park.
“We were also forced to temporarily close a popular roadside rest stop in Edi, after a large amount of asbestos sheeting was found down a disused well.”
During the last few months, officers have been called out to more than 20 reports of illegal dumping of the potentially hazardous commercial waste, as well as household rubbish.
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“People who dump rubbish in our forests have no regard for the health and safety of others or the environment,” said Kennedy. “These actions are putting the community at risk, which is unacceptable.”
The cost of removing rubbish from forest areas is in the tens of thousands of dollars per year and, as Kennedy said, “this money should be spent on other things the community requires like improving access tracks and recreational facilities.”
Dumping waste on a site that’s not licensed to accept it attracts a fine of up to $6234 if the case goes to court, while on-the-spot fines start at $317.
Don’t hesitate to report waste you spot to the EPA by calling 1300 372 842, or to report environmental crime on public land contact DELWP on 136 186 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.