No time for waste

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Left to right: Carrie Barrett from Regional Illegal Dumping Squad (RID), Glen Crombie from National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), Katrina Gray from NPWS, Rob Robertson from RID, Karinda Stone from Cessnock City Council and Tara Dever from Mindaribba LALC.

Our community is tired of seeing our beautiful Cessnock Local Government Area (LGA) spoilt by illegal dumping. In response, a number of organisations have decided to tackle anti-social behaviour together and increase surveillance.

Representatives from Cessnock City Council, National Parks and Wildlife Service, NSW Police, Hunter Regional Illegal Dumping Squad, Crown Lands, State Forests, and Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council have committed to increasing surveillance activity and resources to combat illegal dumping.

Whilst the groups already work collaboratively, all agree there is a need to strengthen these partnerships to combat this behaviour. Each of the agencies and organisations have a shared goal, to reduce the rate of illegal dumping and are committed to delivering a strong message anti-social behaviour is unacceptable, environmentally damaging and will not be tolerated.

Cessnock City Council’s, Sustainability Officer Karinda Stone said this collaborative approach means the chances of getting caught illegally dumping have increased significantly.

“During the remainder of 2021, in addition to the day to day activity undertaken by each of these organisations, we’ll be doing routine blitz’s to hold people accountable for their dumping. Collaborating with these agencies and organisations means we can pool resources, get more feet on the ground and undertake better investigations to identify offenders.”

A large question for the group was around the absurdity that some people believe indiscriminate dumping in bushland is OK. Where do they think it goes? Another challenge is the cost of clean-up which is transferred back to the community through both their rates and taxes.

RID Squad Coordinator Rob Robertson said 90% of people caught illegally dumping domestic waste are local.

“The main driver for this behaviour is often timing, laziness and lack of planning.”

Individuals caught illegally dumping can face a fine of up to $250,000 and criminal charges. The penalties for corporations are even more severe.

Residents are also encouraged to do their bit to support efforts to reduce illegal dumping locally. Any illegal dumping or suspicious behaviour should be reported to RID Online

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