Illegal, hazardous dumping in Hutt River increasing
The dumping of hazardous material including asbestos is part of the growing fly tipping problem in Te Awa Kairangi/Hutt River.
The Greater Wellington Environment Committee was briefed today on the severity of fly tipping or illegal dumping in the river, which cost the regional council $113,826 in tip fees in the year to July.
A further $3,541 was spent during the same period on a Waste Management bin, while specialist removal was required on several occasions to safely dispose of asbestos.
Figures presented to the committee did not include the running cost of trucks and tractors or wages involved in collecting the waste, although it was noted that on average the River Ranger dedicates two to three hours each day to the problem, equivalent to one full day each week.
Hutt River Ranger Joby Mills said fly tipping was increasing, with commercial dumping now also common.
“Three to four times each week, I’m made aware of it. Every day, I’m patrolling and collecting waste like household rubbish, broken microwaves, stereos and toilets. Tyres and cars are regularly dumped in the river and often I find commercial waste such as building material.” Mr Mills said.
Greater Wellington Environment Committee Chair Penny Gaylor said a lack of respect for the natural environment was contributing to the problem.
“The river runs through a large urban area where some people consider the river their dumping ground rather than their neighbour,” Cr Gaylor said.
“As well as the cost to ratepayers, fly tipping is harmful to the health of our waterways.”
The committee requested council officers explore a fines regime and other options to address the illegal dumping issue.
Officers will also consider a range of additional measures, including the installation of surveillance cameras as well as community education and awareness initiatives.
Catchment Management General Manager Wayne O’Donnell said in the meantime, the community can help Greater Wellington clean up the river.
“Please report any fly tipping you see by noting details like vehicle descriptions and number plates. Take photos if you can do so safely. Greater Wellington will always protect your privacy,” Mr O’Donnell said.
To report fly tipping, call Greater Wellington’s Environmental hotline: 0800 496 734, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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