Access Canberra has received over 1,150 reports of illegal dumping this year, as city rangers attempt to keep popular dumping sites Mugga Way and Majura Parkway from becoming eyesores.
Between 1 January and 31 July, Access Canberra received 1,178 reports of illegal dumping, with 216 incidents referred to the Transport Canberra and City Services for investigation.
In 2017-18 there were less than 800 reports of illegal dumping incidents, costing Transport Canberra and City Services $2 million to clean up.
A spokesperson said Transport Canberra and City Services believes the rise in illegal dumping reports is due to the roll-out of the Report Illegal Dumping signage and increased awareness in the community.
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Illegal dumping includes leaving rubbish beside your household wheelie bin, leaving items beside public bins or charity hoppers, dropping litter and dumping large items on pathways, in parks, waterways, or on suburban streets.
The TCCS spokesperson said six new compliance officers have joined the city ranger team targeting littering and illegal dumping in the community.
“These officers install and monitor movable covert digital cameras to capture illegal dumping and hold those responsible accountable,” the spokesperson said. “Recently, officers have been undertaking targeted compliance activities across Canberra at known illegal dumping sites, including Mugga Way.”
Current fines for illegal dumping range from $1,000 for individuals and from $5,000 for businesses.
According to Transport Canberra and City Services, isolated rural areas are popular dumping spots for people who won’t take their waste to the tip, with hot spots including the Monaro Highway, Flemington Road, Barton Highway, Majura Parkway and sections of the Gungahlin Drive Extension.
Minister for City Services Chris Steel tabled new littering and illegal dumping laws in the ACT Legislative Assembly in June this year, which will use CCTV footage of dumping as evidence for issuing fines.
Mr Steel said that using vehicle registration details to identify people who are illegally dumping will also enable infringement notices to be issued easily, similar to speeding fines.
“CCTV is increasingly being used to monitor areas known for dumping in the ACT and at other public areas, such as recycling centres and schools, and the Government will use this evidence to issue fines,” Mr Steel said in June.
“Under these laws, if you litter from or near a vehicle, it will be up to the vehicle owner to explain who pays the fine.”
Mr Steel said Transport Canberra and City Services will increase the use of surveillance and awareness activities to stop Canberra from becoming a wasteland.
“The ACT Government is aware of the impact of illegal dumping and littering on the amenity, safety and environmental values of our city,” Mr Steel said.
“TCCS is working with other directorates to tackle this issue in a variety of ways, including regulatory reform, increased use of surveillance and data gathering, education and awareness activities and targeted enforcement actions.
“The ACT Government is committed to ensuring the public follows the laws. If you don’t do the right thing you are at risk of receiving an on the spot fine.”
People who witness illegal dumping, including dumping around charity bins, are urged to call Access Canberra on 13 22 81 or online via Fix My Street.