Rubbish, animals dumped in district

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 05:00 19/02/2014

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Need an old fridge, washing machine or dead animal? Try checking out some of Southland's waterways and farmland.

Tonnes of rubbish as well as animals are being dumped throughout Southland and ratepayers are having to fork out thousands of dollars to clean up the mess.

In one of the most recent dumpings, more than six trailer-loads of rubbish was discarded next to a lagoon near Tuatapere. The area, which is a blocked-off road, is littered with old fridges, freezers, driers and household waste.

Councils throughout the region are facing the same problem, with large appliances and household waste being dumped in gullies, near rivers and on empty sections.

Southland District Council environmental health manager Michael Sarfaiti said the latest incident near Tuatapere was part of an ongoing problem, and on a long list of sites where the council had to clean up rubbish.

Earlier this week the council had to clean up a site near Ryal Bush where rubbish had been dumped. It could cost more than $1000 to clean up each of the dumpings, he said.

Mr Sarfaiti said he was confident the council would be able to track down the offenders involved in the latest offending because of items in the rubbish that would lead to their identification.

Environment Southland was also having to pump money into cleaning up dumped waste.

That included dead animals being dumped in rivers.

Environment Southland compliance manager Simon Mapp said the council was called to remove dead and dumped animals from rivers and waterways several times a week.

A contractor was engaged to pick up the animals and the cost was coming from the pockets of ratepayers, he said.

"It's ultimately going to cost you through your rates."

Southland District Mayor Gary Tong slammed those dumping rubbish as lazy and called on ratepayers to alert the respective councils to those causing the problems.

"There's no excuse for it. It's disappointing. It's dangerous litter and it's a health issue."

The issue was ongoing and costly for the council to clean up, he said.

"We rely on the ratepayers letting us know."

Mr Tong said he did not believe it was the expense of transfer stations was putting people off from dumping their waste safely because in some instances they were driving long distances to dump the rubbish.

The problem was also rampant in the Gore district.

Gore District Council communications co-ordinator Sonia Gerken said the council "actively try to discourage illegal dumping".

The council had notified its intention to increase the infringement fine from $100 to $400 to help combat the issue and were watching "hot spots" for dumping in the area closely, she said.

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Invercargill City Council solid waste manager Malcolm Loan said the council did not have such a large issue, but dealt with waste about the size of a wheelie bin being dumped throughout the city three or four times a week.

Often the council managed to track down the offenders and they were given infringment fines to cover the cost of removal, Mr Loan said.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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