Rising tide of illegal dumping along the Te Awa Kairangi/Hutt Riverside
Builders waste, white ware, electrical, garage tyres, cars and general waste are piling up along the Hutt River/Te Awa Kairangi riverside, leaving an ugly and costly mess for Greater Wellington and both Hutt Valley councils to clear up.
“Littering and dumping rubbish along the river corridor isn’t new, but seems to be increasing in the face of rising tip fees and hard economic times,” says Greater Wellington River Ranger Joby Mills.
“We’re finding that the very features that attract visitors, the bush-lined riverside, provides shelter and cover for dumping. This behaviour shows total disrespect for the river and brings with it the prospect of significant pollution from oil and other unwelcome substances.
“People need to stop thinking short term and start thinking about the longer term effects of dumping. Ultimately it’s not free as the consequences on the environment can be costly.”
While Greater Wellington’s responsibilities extend from stop bank to stop bank, including the Hutt River Trail and the Remutaka cycle trail, it works with local councils to keep the riverside clean and safe.
“We have to collaborate quickly once dumped material is found to make sure it doesn’t end up in the water, as inevitably it does when the river floods,” says Joby Mills.
Thousands of dollars are spent on clean-up, particularly when large items such as burned out and dumped vehicles and builders’ waste are involved. Costs come from the collection of rubbish by Greater Wellington’s flood protection team and landfill costs for disposal based on weight. Dumped tyres, which are common along the river, are disposed of sustainably at significant financial cost to regional ratepayers.
Enforcement action can be taken against illegal dumpers but gathering evidence it is difficult given their fly-by-night activities.
“Stopping this is in the hands of the community. We want their help to end this dumping and protect the environment. Early reporting would help us greatly to try and track down the perpetrators.
“With community help, our time could be better placed enhancing the river experience through environmental development and restoration rather than rubbish removal,” says Joby Mills.
If people witness illegal dumping along the Hutt River/Te Awa Kairangi they should call Greater Wellington’s environmental pollution hotline on 0800 496 734.
Get in touch
- 0800 496 734