Illegal dumping happens when someone dumps rubbish (either hazardous or non-hazardous) in public areas or in private spaces without permission from the council or the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).
In Australia, the most common illegally dumped rubbish includes, but is not limited to, furniture, mattresses, used clothes, batteries, abandoned cars, construction materials, and asbestos. In NSW alone, local councils can spend as much as 10 million a year cleaning up rubbish illegally dumped by individuals and businesses.
Fines and penalties for illegal dumping in NSW
Illegal dumpers have various reasons for dumping their rubbish illegally. The most common is wanting to avoid paying the fee for having their rubbish disposed of properly – a lame and unacceptable excuse.
For this reason, it only makes sense for the government to enforce stricter laws with regards to illegal dumping. This way, illegal dumpers can be penalised once proven guilty, for causing potential harm to the environment, public health, and the community.
The following are the fines and penalties for illegal dumping in NSW, according to EPA.
For on-the-spot fines for illegal dumping:
- $7,500 on-the-spot fine for individuals, if issued by the EPA ($4,000 otherwise)
- $15,000 on-the-spot fine for corporations, if issued by the EPA ($8,000 otherwise)
For strict liability waste dumping offences:
- Maximum penalty for an individual: $250,000 and, in the case of a continuing offence, a further daily penalty of $60,000
- Maximum penalty for a corporation: $1,000,000 and in the case of a continuing offence, a further daily penalty of $120,000
For wilful or negligent disposal of waste causing actual or likely harm to the environment:
- Maximum penalty for an individual: $1,000,000 and/or 7-year prison sentence for wilful offences; $500,000 and/or 4-year prison sentence for negligent offences
- Maximum penalty for a corporation: $5,000,000 for wilful offences; $2,000,000 for negligent offences
Despite these hefty fines and penalties, the number of illegal dumping cases has increased in the past years.
The negative effects of illegal dumping
Illegally dumped rubbish does not only look unsightly; it also poses a direct threat to the environment, public health, and the community.
Illegally dumped rubbish sometimes has hazardous substances in it. It can cause significant damage to the air, soil, and groundwater. Natural habitats will be polluted, causing deaths to plant and animals that live in them in the process.
When illegal dumping occurs, the risk of flooding also increases as rubbish can block drainage creeks.
Lastly, illegally dumped rubbish takes up space that can be used for other constructive purposes like gardening and farming.
The hazardous chemicals present in illegally dumped wastes can find their way into the water sources that people drink from or swim in, causing people to be exposed to contaminated water.
Metals, broken glass, and anything sharp dumped illegally can cause accidents such as cuts, leading to infections. Tires thrown in unauthorised areas can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
As mentioned earlier, it costs councils a huge amount of money to have illegally dumped rubbish cleaned up. It also costs money to have the damage caused by rubbish fixed. More importantly, the community looks unsightly and smells obnoxious in general when rubbish is not properly disposed of.
Lake Macquarie Skips can help with your waste management
As residents of NSW, it’s your responsibility to dispose of your rubbish properly. If you’re unsure where to start, let Lake Macquarie Skips show you the way.
Lake Macquarie Skips offers skip bins not only in the Lake Macquarie area but also in Hunter Valley, Newcastle, Port Stephens, and the Central Coast. So if you reside in any of these areas and have rubbish to dispose of, hire skip bin from us! Our variety of skip bins can accommodate your waste disposal needs.
You can also take advantage of our curb side collection services in inner parts of the city. All you have to do is go online and use our booking system to hire skip bins in Lake Macquarie. You can also give us a call at 0452 22 55 88 and our friendly experts can help you out.