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Home > resource-centre > How To Report Illegal Rubbish Dumping | Illegally Dumped Waste

How To Report Illegal Rubbish Dumping | Illegally Dumped Waste

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Reporting illegal dumping on public or private land 

Illegally dumped rubbish is a significant problem in many communities, leading to environmental degradation, health hazards, and unnecessary cleanup costs for local governments. Proper waste disposal is crucial for maintaining our surroundings' cleanliness and aesthetics, protecting public health, and preserving natural ecosystems. 

WM Waste, Melbourne’s leading waste and rubbish removal services company, is dedicated to providing efficient and reliable waste management solutions. This blog will explore what constitutes illegal dumping in Australia, the legal implications, and the steps you can take to report and prevent this harmful practice.

What is considered illegal dumping in Australia?

Illegal dumping refers to the unlawful disposal of waste in areas that are not designated for waste collection. This includes leaving rubbish in public spaces, private property without permission, or natural environments such as parks, forests, and waterways. Unlike regulated waste disposal methods, illegal dumping rubbish bypasses the necessary protocols, leading to various environmental and health issues.

Examples of common items illegally dumped

  • Household Waste: Old furniture, appliances, mattresses, and general household rubbish.
  • Construction Debris: Bricks, concrete, timber, and other building materials.
  • Green Waste: Garden waste including clippings, tree branches, and other organic matter.
  • Hazardous Waste: Chemicals, paint, asbestos, and electronic waste (e-waste).
  • Automotive Waste: Tyres, car parts, and used oil.

Is illegal dumping a criminal offence in Australia?

Yes, illegal dumping is a criminal offence in Australia, carrying severe penalties, including fines and imprisonment. On-the-spot fines for minor offences start at $119, while severe cases causing environmental harm can lead to fines up to $1,000,000 and/or seven years in prison. Each state and territory has its own specific legislation and penalties. These strict regulations are designed to protect the environment and public health, making it crucial for individuals and businesses to follow proper waste disposal practices to avoid severe legal consequences.

The impact of illegal dumping

Environmental impact

Illegal dumping contaminates soil and water, leading to pollution and ecosystem disruption. Hazardous waste can release toxins, harming plant and animal life and creating breeding grounds for pests.

Health and safety risks

Accumulated waste attracts disease-spreading pests and poses physical dangers from sharp objects and toxic materials. Dumpsites can also be fire hazards, especially with flammable materials.

Economic costs

Local governments and taxpayers bear the financial burden of cleanup, diverting funds from essential services. Illegal dumpsites can decrease property values, impacting local economies.

Effects on wildlife and ecosystems

Wildlife can be injured or killed by ingesting or getting entangled in waste. Pollutants from dumpsites can destroy habitats, reduce biodiversity, and disrupt food chains, particularly in aquatic environments.

What to do if you see some dumping illegally 

Witnessing illegal dumping can be alarming, but it's important to handle the situation correctly to ensure your safety and the proper reporting of the incident. Here are the steps you should take:

Steps to take if you witness illegal dumping

1. Stay Safe: Do not confront the offenders. Your safety is the top priority.

2. Observe: From a safe distance, carefully observe the situation to gather as much information as possible.

3. Record Details: Note the exact location and time of the illegal dumping.

4. Description of Offenders: Write down a detailed description of the individuals involved, including their physical appearance and any distinctive features.

5. Vehicle Information: Record the make, model, colour, and license plate number of any vehicles involved.

6. Take Photos: If it is safe to do so, take photos of the offenders, their vehicles, and the dumped waste.

How to report illegal dumping in Victoria

Calling the Pollution Hotline

You can report illegal dumping by calling the pollution hotline at 1300 372 842. This hotline is dedicated to handling environmental issues, including illegal dumping, and will direct your report to the appropriate authorities.

Registering for and using the EPA Interaction Portal

Another option is to register for and use the EPA Interaction Portal. This online platform allows you to submit detailed reports of illegal dumping incidents, including uploading any evidence, such as photos or videos. The portal provides a convenient way to track your report and receive updates on its progress.

Reporting directly to your local council

You can also report illegal dumping directly to your local council. Each council has its own procedures for handling such reports, so check your council's website or contact them directly for specific instructions.

What is the fine for illegal dumping in Victoria?

In Victoria, the fines for illegal dumping are significant to deter this harmful practice. Individuals caught illegally dumping can face fines starting at $363, while corporations can be fined $1,817. For more severe offences, fines are calculated in multiple fine units, with individuals facing up to four fine units and corporations up to twenty fine units. These stringent penalties reflect the serious nature of illegal dumping and its impact on the environment and community.

Disposing of unwanted items legally

Proper disposal of unwanted items is essential for maintaining a clean and healthy environment. WM Waste offers a range of services for efficient rubbish removal, including hiring skip bins that cater to various waste disposal needs. Additionally, utilising local recycling centres and tips ensures that recyclable materials are processed correctly, reducing environmental impact. By choosing legal and responsible waste disposal methods, you contribute to a cleaner, safer community.

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