Too many ignoring rubbish rules

Forking out $2.80 on a rubbish bag is apparently too much for some people.

Kaipara District Council's user pays rubbish system gives people the responsibility to buy their own bags but too many are exploiting the system.

In the last year council handled 60 cases of illegally dumped rubbish and fined most - and these were only the reported cases.

Unfortunately it is not a new problem.

In 2009 council upped its maximum fine from $100 to $400 - the maximum allowed under the Litter Act 1979.

Fines start at $100 for litter with a volume of less than one litre, rising to $150 for between one and 20 litres, $250 for 20 to 120 litres and $400 for more than 120 litres.

Dumping animal remains in a public place or on private property without the occupier's consent will attract a $400 instant fine.

Twenty litres is the equivalent of about two standard supermarket bags filled to capacity while 120 litres is about the capacity of a standard wheelie bin.

The fines were increased as a deterrent.

But one way or the other someone has to pay for the rubbish.

Contractors have the right to search unstickered bags or any loose rubbish strewn about. If evidence, for example a letter or document that contains a name and/or address, is recovered it is passed on to council's enforcement officer. The council gets charged by the contractor for this because it is not part of their contract. Although the council may issue a fine to anyone it has reason to believe may have dumped illegal rubbish, it costs $30 to lodge each unpaid fine to court. Around 20 per cent of fines issued in the last year have been sent to court.

A change to the system has been considered in the past, but it would inevitably result in a rate increase.

There are two refuse collection agencies - Kaipara Refuse and Northern Waste Inc. From Matakohe westward, including Dargaville, people may only use the official blue refuse bags.

From Matakohe eastwards (Matakohe, Paparoa and Maungaturoto through to Kaiwaka and Mangawhai) the blue, green or stickered bags may be used.

Call 439 3123, Dargaville, or 431 2013, Kaiwaka to report illegal dumping.

Dargaville News