Cameras to spot illegal rubbish dumpers

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 10/07/2014

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If you are planning to dump rubbish illegally, expect Big Brother to be watching.

The Timaru District Council has installed cameras alongside rivers after lounge chairs, sofas and rotting animal carcasses were found dumped in the Pareora River in recent months.

Motion-activated sensor cameras being used by the council were initially designed for hunters to monitor prey.

The cameras are also helping police combat crime in South Canterbury. Cameras used by the council are, however, modified to identify numberplates.

Environment Canterbury (ECan), which monitors the rivers, is backing the crime-busting project.

ECan monitoring and compliance area leader Jo Field said the latest cases were not isolated. Dumping of domestic waste in riverbeds has been a concern for the regional and district councils for some time.

"In the Pareora River alone we have found garden waste and general household rubbish, as well as the more unusual things like sofas and chairs.

"Our message to anyone considering dumping rubbish in this way is ‘don't do it'. It is not acceptable and we will take action against anyone we can identify."

Timaru District Council zero waste adviser Phil Burridge said five infringement notices have been issued so far for a variety of offences.

"We've had sheep carcasses dumped there. We even had a hot water cylinder in the middle of the river, which is totally unacceptable."

Some offenders had tried to defend their actions, claiming they were dumping items on behalf of someone else and the dump was closed, he said.

"In my mind, it's just sheer laziness."

He said the images were very good, clearly illustrating vehicle numberplates. The camera captures vehicles arriving with loaded trailers and leaving empty.

It costs $15 to empty a trailerload of rubbish at the dump. Those caught illegally dumping rubbish can expect a $500 fine.

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- The Timaru Herald

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