THE amount of toxic and hazardous waste dumped in bushland in the South Coast region has been particularly bad recently according to the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC).
DEC south coast regional investigations leader Nathan Hallett said the recent spike in illegal dumping was concerning.
“A pile of household waste was set alight at Helms Arboretum which posed a dangerous fire risk,” Mr Hallett said.
“We also find hazardous materials, including asbestos, are dumped in bushland.
“When people deliberately dump waste in bush or near roads, not only are flora and fauna impacted but it can also affect people’s health.
“Illegal dumping costs the community in many ways as resources need to be diverted to clean up the rubbish.”
Shire of Esperance acting chief executive officer Shane Burge said the items most commonly dumped around Esperance are household refuse, car bodies, garden clippings and green waste.
“Locally, illegal dumping occurs in a number of places ranging from bush areas bordering suburbs to the outer perimeter of Esperance,” Mr Burge said.
“Water Corp land (borefields), Fill Street reserves (the old tip site), vacant land along Winston way in Nulsen, behind the cemetery, along Bandy Creek and bush land in the vicinity of the tip are areas where rubbish is frequently found.”
Mr Burge said preventing illegal dumping is critical to the overall wellbeing of the community.
“Ensuring items that are or could be dangerous such as chemicals, needles, garden refuse are disposed of correctly, is essential,” he said.
“Ranger services are constantly engaged in education in the community and value information received from the general public.
“This type of offence is often difficult to detect but we encourage residents to log onto the Keep Australia Beautiful website where they can register anonymous litter reports.”
The Litter Act was amended on August 10, 2012 resulting in $500 on the spot fines for littering and increases in a number of penalties.