The illegal dumping of rubbish in plantations around Latrobe City is increasing the risk of bushfires.
Car bodies left in plantations are commonly set alight by vandals. Such fires can spread through the trees and eventually to homes and businesses.
HVP Plantations removes waste that has been dumped illegally, at significant cost to them.
“Any car that is dumped in plantations runs a high risk of being set alight. In a lot of cases they are set alight upon dumping. This is a huge risk to both forestry land and surrounding property, particularly in warmer weather,” Latrobe City Council Chief Executive Officer Steven Piasente said.
“We currently have more than 30 cars that have been dumped throughout the plantations.”
Cars are not the only rubbish dumped in local plantations. Household waste, needles, mattresses, tyres, car parts, animals and animal remains, green waste, bricks, concrete, building materials, steel, cardboard, cabling, appliances, linen, clothing, books, food, furniture and cutlery have been dumped. Many of the items could have been recycled for free.
“Almost anything that can be purchased can potentially end up dumped. Council staff have even come across a wedding dress,” Mr Piasente said.
Most rubbish is dumped in accessible parts of plantations and on the fringes, but Council’s local laws officers have found rubbish on steep hills and places not accessible by four-wheel-drive.
Dumping hotspots are often close to towns, and include Maryvale and Moe South, whereas minimal dumping occurs in more remote plantations. The fine for dumping waste illegally is $330, however more significant offences can result in court hearings and fines of up to $4000 – far more than the cost of disposing of the rubbish legally or even arranging a hard rubbish collection via Council.
Council’s twice-yearly booked hard waste collection will start on Monday 7 December. Bookings have now closed. All appropriate social distancing measures will be followed to slow the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
Residents can place up to two cubic metres of household hard waste from their property on their nature-strip for collection, but only after 5 December.
Acceptable items include couches, mattresses, tables, chairs, exercise equipment, bedside tables, tall boys, rugs, mats, cork tiles, TV cabinets, coffee tables (glass removed), dining tables, outdoor furniture, computer desks, curtains, blinds and fittings, luggage, toys, floating floors, vinyl, carpets and underlay (maximum 30 cm diameter x 1.5 m long), cane furniture and lamps.
A full list of non-acceptable items is available at www.latrobe.vic.gov.au/waste The next hard rubbish collection will be in May. Latrobe City Transfer Stations remain open as per normal hours during this COVID-19 outbreak for those without coupons or who have more than two cubic metres of acceptable items. Operating hours can also be found at www.latrobe.vic.gov.au/waste