Taranaki residents are travelling many kilometres to illegally dump their rubbish in parks and reserves, including Egmont National Park, the Conservation Department says.
DOC programme manager Dave Rogers says the organisation can no longer afford to deal with the problem on its own.
"It's mind-boggling how people will go the extra mile to do it," he told the Taranaki solid waste management committee yesterday.
Mr Rogers called for a collaborative approach by the councils and DOC to deal with the issue.
"We need to get the community to take responsibility for it. DOC can't afford to deal with it on its own," he said.
Some of the most popular sites for illegally dumping rubbish were Tarata Reserve, Mt Messenger Reserve, the Meeting of the Waters, Lucy's Gully and the Waiwhakaiho car park.
Members of the rural community were the worst offenders, Mr Rogers said.
"They have been doing it for so long they don't recognise there is anything wrong with it any more," he said.
Recently, DOC cleared 11 tonnes of rubbish from Tarata Reserve. An arrangement was made so DOC could get it out and dump it at no cost to the department.
DOC had never been successful in prosecuting someone for dumping rubbish illegally, he said.
"People say ‘It's my rubbish but I didn't dump it'."
The New Plymouth District Council prosecuted one person in the year ending May 31, 2012, resulting in a $1000 fine, a report to the committee said.
The council was also able to identify offenders in five cases and infringement notices of up to $400 each were issued. Three paid and the others were going to court.
The council recorded 133 incidences of illegal dumping over the 12-month period, an average of about 11 a month.
The Stratford District Council had six complaints of illegal dumping in the same period, which included TVs and a freezer, and the South Taranaki District Council recorded 16.
The Taranaki Regional Council had five. Four were passed on to the relevant district council and the fifth was a car dumped in a river. The offender received a fine.
The South Taranaki and New Plymouth district councils have problems with people leaving rubbish bags and other waste outside the transfer stations or the landfill. However, neither records the number of times this happens.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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