By Linda Hoang
Waverley Council is implementing a twelve month trial to clean up illegally dumped waste in the area.
A Public Place Cleansing collection crew will be hired to remove illegally dumped waste from Waverley streets within two to three days of being notified.
Mayor of Waverley Council, John Wakefield, said “Council is very active in the enforcement, education and removal of illegally dumped rubbish.
“As a result of the numerous incidents, there is an impact on the amenity of the public places…especially when these piles of dumped material remain on the footpaths for a long period of time.”
The trial will be rolled out over 2018/19 and will assign a collection crew specifically dedicated to ensuring dumped waste is removed within the specified time frame.
The new Council guidelines mandate any illegal waste is to be removed regardless of whether or not the offender is identified at the time of notification.
This quick removal initiative is to assist the NSW Environment Protection Authority ‘s (EPA) Regional Illegal Dumping (RID) squad who lead investigations to prosecute offenders.
Mayor Wakefield said the Illegally Dumped Waste – Removal and Investigation plan will work with the Council’s Waste Enforcement Officer who actively patrols, enforces and educates local residents on compliance and practise of correctly disposing of waste and rubbish.
Council aims to educate people about how dumped waste can be dangerous, especially when it includes sharp objects, asbestos and glass.
Addressing illegal dumping is also a focus of Council’s Clean and Attractive Waverley strategy which aims to maintain public spaces by disposing of domestic and commercial waste, removing graffiti and maintaining trees, beaches and parks in the area .
“In 2016/17, there were 5,309 illegal waste dumping incidents in the Waverley area. Around 517 tonnes of household waste was illegally dumped and removed,” said Mayor Wakefield.
The Council’s baseline data from the financial year identified five priority areas where 786 illegal dumps were reported, 15 per cent of total incidents in the Waverley area.
The Get Rid of It Right project was implemented in Bondi as a priority area to target illegal dumping of general household items on the kerbside from both residents and short-term visitors.
The project highlighted a lack of awareness of collection services for “bulky waste and problem wastes” and identified a need to promote reuse initiatives as well as reinforce dumping as illegal and how to report it.
Waverley Council will reinforce its offer for residents to organise three free household clean-ups per year where Council collectors pick up unwanted items and materials.
Founder of Bagging up Bondi, Michael Harding, said “When people, especially with the turnover of travellers in Summer, move out and leave half of their apartment on the street…there’s trash everywhere. It’s disgusting how filthy the neighbourhoods of Bondi can get and it blows my mind how that’s allowed.”
Bagging up Bondi is a group of over two hundred people who have contributed to clean-ups around the local area.
“I feel like Bondi has the most trash in any area, people’s apartments are full of junk…and they dump their whole place on the street hoping someone will claim their junk,” said Mr Harding.
“I guess it indicates a lack of care and ignorance from people who are passing through. Fines should be implemented but at the moment it’s hard to regulate since people up and leave…landlords need to come up with something so they don’t take the blame but also the Council needs to find a better way of dealing with it, too.”
Council’s trial of bulky waste collection will aim to engage key stakeholders including real estate agents, strata, property managers and various community groups to tackle dumping through education and engagement.
Under NSW regulations, EPA can issue on the spot fines of up to $7500 for individuals and repeat offenders can receive prison sentences of up to 2 years.
A Bondi resident, Daniel Hills, said “The apartment block I live in – and because of the way renting in Bondi works – there’s always new people coming in and out and everyone wants to make the place they’re staying in home.”
“Unfortunately, this means people are swapping out existing furnishings for new ones or just overestimating what they need for the time they wind up staying and then don’t bother finding a way to get rid of those items,” he said.
“It’s easy to see a pile of waste on the street around the corner and think it’s okay to do the same and it’s not just travellers, it’s some of the residents as well, but the landlords only get involved when the Council get involved.”
Council’s Clean and Attractive team will review the Illegally Dumped Waste – Removal and Investigation trial at the end of 2019 to determine future resource requirements and assess the effectiveness of the bulky waste collection within two business days.
Waverley Council will continue to work within Illegal Dumping Prevention objectives of the NSW State Government to ensure the strategy also reduces transport costs and associated emissions, and to minimise waste sent to landfills.