Your chance of being caught littering or illegally dumping has just gone up – thanks to a partnership between the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and Hawkesbury City Council. The partnership has allowed Council to employ a new Compliance and Enforcement Officer to patrol the Hawkesbury, investigating incidents of littering, illegal waste disposal and dumping.
It’s all part of the Waste Less, Recycle More initiative and the Better Waste Grants Program which aims to transform waste and recycling in NSW.
Fineable offences can include roadside dumping, general littering and even putting waste on the kerbside without having a scheduled collection booked.
Residents paying for a garbage collection service are entitled to one free pickup per financial year, however they must not put any materials out for collection unless a collection service has already been booked and must not put the materials out more than 24 hours before the scheduled day. Otherwise residents may be required to put all the materials back within the boundaries of their property or face being fined.
Rental property owners also need to be aware of issues around kerbside litter. A change of tenancy of a property sometimes causes issues with the vacating tenant emptying out the premises of unwanted items onto the kerbside, leaving the property owner responsible for its removal and associated costs if the tenant cannot be tracked down.
Roadside dumpers run the risk of being recorded on surveillance cameras which are difficult to detect even in remote areas. Dumpers continue to be successfully prosecuted with heavy penalties imposed by the courts and directives issued to clean up the dumped material and dispose of it at an authorised waste disposal facility.
Littering is not only an anti-social act but it causes a great deal of environmental harm – for instance, small pieces of litter can enter stormwater systems and eventually end up in waterways. Members of the community can now report littering such as throwing cigarette butts and other litter from cars through the NSW EPA website, https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au. Without compromising personal safety, witnesses need to record details such as the vehicle registration, location, litter type, date and time.
More specially trained staff carrying out investigations and the use of surveillance technology that gathers indisputable evidence means dumpers and litterers are more likely to get caught and penalised.
On the spot fines of between $250 and $450 can be issued for littering offences to individuals or $500 and $900 for businesses or corporations.
Roadside dumping offences carry on the spot fines of between $4,000 and $8,000. Successful prosecutions of illegal waste disposal (dumping) carry penalties issued by the court of between $500,000 and $1,000,000, and in some cases, prison sentences, depending on whether it is an intentional or negligent act.
For more information or to report littering, dumpers or other pollution, call the EPA’s Environment Line on 131 555 or visit https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au.