EPA warns against dumping in the bush

Report illegal dumping in the bush. Picture: ON FILE

With autumn here, Victorians are going bush to enjoy the environment, but EPA Victoria says some people are just using it as a dumping spot for their rubbish: plastic bags, car boot loads and even industrial skip bins full of it.

EPA is asking every Victorian who loves the bush to store the EPA hotline number 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842) in their mobile phone and report any dumped rubbish they find.

EPA’s Northeast Regional Manager Ben Kneebone says anyone camping, mountain biking, hiking or just having a barbecue in the bush can do their bit for the environment.

“Give us a prompt report and an accurate location of the dump site, and you are giving EPA a better chance of tracking down the culprit and making them pay the price,” he said.

“Taking a photo can help, too. With these simple measures, you can make sure your favourite spot in the bush doesn’t turn into a stinking, illegal tip,” he said.

Loads of waste dumped in the bush often include construction and demolition waste, hazardous materials like asbestos and rotting household rubbish.

Cleaning up abandoned waste costs the State Government and local Councils millions of dollars every year, and many of EPA’s prosecutions in court are for illegal waste dumping.

EPA can issue regulatory notices and fines that start at more than $9,000 and can go well into the hundreds of thousands if the case goes to court. The court can also order the culprit to pay for the clean-up, which can cost even more than the fines. Cases involving small items of litter can be reported to your local council.

“Illegal dumping creates an eyesore and can contaminate the soil and nearby waterways, and if the culprits get away with it, the cost of the clean-up is too often left to the community or landholders,” Mr Kneebone said.

Members of the public can report pollution by calling EPA’s 24-hour hotline on 1300 372 842 or providing details online at epa.vic.gov.au/report-pollution/reporting-pollution