Garbage dumpers being tracked, fined

20:07, Jan 29 2013

People dumping rubbish on public land in Invercargill is increasing, city council staff say.

Council staff were alerted to a mess at Newfield Park this week, arriving to find household rubbish dumped near a children's play area.

Council parks and reserves manager Robin Pagan said people dumping rubbish was disgusting and dumpers were probably spending as much on petrol as the cost of the transfer station fee.

"It's quite stupid - [the fines] are a heck of a lot more than just taking it to the transfer station."

The council usually dealt with about 20 incidents a year but in the past six months there had been 15.

Most had been on more remote reserve land, such as at Sandy Pt, he said. This made even less sense because of the cost of fuel.

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Mr Pagan said he was unsure why there had been an increase since August - the council had found many of the offenders had been moving house or leaving town.

A small proportion of the dumpers had been located and fined and had even gone through the courts.

They had been tracked down after council staff found their address among the rubbish, he said.

Council environmental health general inspector Robert Bird said fines could range from $100 to $400.

He believed the cost of taking the rubbish to the transfer station would be equal to, if not less than, driving it out to Sandy Pt.

"It seems strange that people would drive all that way to dump two bags of rubbish - it's not the smartest thing we see."

He had followed up on a name and address found in the Newfield Park rubbish - this person had left town but other names and addresses had also been pulled out.

If people found abandoned rubbish they should not open it themselves, because it could be harmful, he said.

"We have found hypodermic needles, so don't go through the rubbish."

Mr Bird said people should always call the council instead of removing the rubbish themselves.

The Southland Times