The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) says spring is illegal dumping season with far too much waste going missing as people look to renovate properties.
Benalla is on the verge of losing its only remaining charity bin as people seem happier dumping hard rubbish nearby rather than taking responsibility for their own waste and disposing of it properly.
The EPA says the problem is not only confined to individuals dumping rubbish, with some companies, such as skip-hire firms also failing to dispose of waste properly.
Chris Webb of the EPA’s Illegal Waste Disposal Strikeforce says anyone hiring a skip should be careful to choose a respectable company.
‘‘Illegal dumping contaminates the environment, it disadvantages the honest businesses who pay the fees for proper disposal, and it often leaves the community or landholders paying for the clean up,’’ Mr Webb said.
‘‘There are fly-by-night skip bin operators who will give you a very cheap price, then abandon your renovation waste in the bush, on private land or in a rented warehouse.
‘‘The landholder, your local council, or even you, might be the one left with the clean-up cost, and unlike the skip bin, it won’t be cheap.’’
Typical materials dumped illegally include construction and demolition waste and hazardous materials, such as asbestos, and household waste.
A large percentage of those materials should have been recycled instead of winding up in a local creek or park.
‘‘The fine for illegal dumping can be thousands of dollars and then comes the cost of the clean-up and proper disposal,’’ Mr Webb said.
Anyone hiring a skip bin should ask questions. If the price seems suspiciously cheap in comparison to other quotes, it may mean the real cost is being dumped on the community and attracting possible prosecution.
The EPA also encourages the community to watch out for suspicious activities — such as unusual truck movements at night, commercial properties or warehouses collecting piles of waste, or very cheap offers of waste removal.
During the past two years, the EPA has undertaken nearly 350 illegal dumping-related inspections, issued more than 170 legal notices requiring a clean up, conducted prosecutions through the courts and issued infringement notices that represent a fine of nearly $8000 each.
Illegal dumping is a problem in regional areas, such as Benalla, where dumping commonly occurs on farmland or on public land, such as state or national parks.
●Anyone with information about illegal dumping is encouraged to report it to the EPA by phoning 1300372842 or via their website www.epa.vic.gov.au