Hume City Council in Victoria is fed up with illegally dumped rubbish turning its streets and vacant land into a tip.
Earlier this year, the council removed 40 cubic metres of dumped waste from just one street and issued fines to 17 people believed to have contributed to the mess. Despite installing surveillance cameras at dumping hotspots and encouraging residents to call out bad behaviour, illegally dumped rubbish continues to pile up.
Hume City Mayor, Councillor Joseph Haweil shares how the council is trying to take back its streets.
How long has illegal dumping been a problem in Hume City?
Illegally dumped rubbish has been a major challenge for Hume City for many years, and unfortunately, several councils in Victoria are also facing the same challenge.
Has it increased recently?
Council has seen a steep increase in illegal dumping over the past four years, particularly in the dumping of unwanted household items. There has been a noticeable increase since COVID-19 lockdown restrictions started last year.
What type of rubbish is being dumped and where is it being dumped?
The most common types of dumped rubbish that we find in Hume City are household items that don’t fit in a household bin, and construction and demolition materials.
Is there one area that stands out as being more prone to illegal dumping?
New areas under development are subject to large amounts of illegal dumping, along with back roads and industrial areas.
What are the costs to council and the community to have illegal dumping cleaned up?
In the past 12 months, cleaning up illegal dumping has cost Hume City’s ratepayers an average of $3.1 million each year.
What has council done to address the issue of illegal dumping?
A common response from residents who have been caught illegally dumping is that they don’t know what services are available to them.
To make long-term change and ensure residents are aware of their entitlements, council has developed and launched a pilot waste education campaign for the Craigieburn area which is a known hotspot for illegally dumped rubbish. The campaign aims to inform residents about their service entitlements, encourage a proactive and planned approach for residents to manage their waste, educate residents on the impact of illegal dumping and the potential consequences if caught.
The campaign launched in July and has involved: Developing informative animations to help educate our community, sharing educational messages about our services and how people can dispose of waste easily for free across digital and social media, printed publications and signage in shopping centres, partnering with property developer, Stockland, to display signage deterring dumping in Craigieburn and sending a reminder of waste service entitlements to Craigieburn residents with their most recent rates notice.
In terms of enforcement, we have also installed surveillance cameras and signage in hotspot areas around the municipality to catch offenders. The campaign has passed the halfway mark and council is looking forward to seeing the results.
What waste services do residents of Hume City have access to?
Hume City Council offers a variety of free and accessible services to all residents including household waste, recycling and optional organic collection service, at-home hard waste collection service, tip vouchers and mulching days.
It must be frustrating for this to be a recurring problem.
Hume City Council continues to offer a wide range of free and subsidised services to assist with waste management so there is simply no need to dump rubbish in Hume. Illegal dumping damages the environment, it’s an unpleasant sight in our suburbs and frustrates our residents. It also costs our ratepayers millions of dollars which could be better spent supporting our community in other ways.