05 May How Australia’s illegal dumping problem could be mitigated with deterrence systems
How Australia’s illegal dumping problem could be mitigated with deterrence systems
From suburban streets to the Outback, illegal dumping is a major problem across Australia. In South Australia alone, the Local Government Association estimated that councils spend $1.5 million a year removing and properly disposing of illegally dumped materials and landfill. Melbourne’s 31 councils reported collectively spending at least $10.8 million per year on clean up.
Australia’s illegal dumping problem is costing local governments hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and wreaking havoc on local ecosystems. While the Environment Protection Authority enforces strict fines for individuals and companies that illegally abandon materials, it still does little to deter determined dumpers.
Only a deterrence system equipped with alarms, lights and cameras can effectively stop illegal dumping before it occurs, mitigating the financial and environmental impact of the act and allowing authorities to pursue further legal action if desired.
Why do people participate in illegal dumping?
Many officials would like to believe that citizens and businesses illegally dump waste and materials because they are unaware of regulations and levies, but that’s unfortunately not the case. The NSW EPA found that low awareness of alternatives – like recycling, donations or waste transfer stations – did not contribute to an increase in illegal dumping.
Even if the public and businesses are aware of legal disposal methods, they are no less likely to abandon waste illegally. In fact, the EPA reported that those with the most knowledge on legal methods were the most likely to have dumped waste illegally. A lack of education is clearly not contributing to this problem.
Instead, the EPA chalked this behaviour up to two key drivers: cost avoidance and ignorance of the consequences. The general community and businesses find legal waste disposal expensive, and choose to dump to save money. Additionally, they are not thinking of how their actions affect the environment or government in the long run.
Even with fines in place and educational programs to inform the public on waste disposal options, individuals are emboldened by the fact that they will not get caught and can save money by travelling to remote areas to dispose of their trash. The only way to stop them is to make it clear their presence and intent is known before they can carry through with their crime.
It’s more than just an eyesore
Kerbside trash and illegal dumping sites are not only an eyesore to the general public; they also pose an environmental risk. Commonly dumped items like rubbish, garden and building waste, tyres, chemical drums and even asbestos can have long-lasting, negative impacts on the environment when left to decompose in nature.
The Queensland Government explained that items containing chemicals, like household cleaning products, or asbestos can directly cause harm or injury to humans and wildlife. Not only is this a major contributor to pollution, but when these chemicals seep into waterways it can become a massive environmental and health hazard.
Dumped household goods and construction waste can pose a threat to local wildlife, as well as introducing invasive pests and weeds into already established ecosystems. Large objects, like mattresses, can block waterways and paths, cause flooding and smother natural vegetation.
Most illegal dumpers never take the time to consider how their actions affect the environment. It’s paramount to stop illegal dumping before it occurs, not only to mitigate the financial costs to city councils, but to protect Australian ecosystems and public health.
How a deterrence system can reduce instances of illegal dumping
Parks, camping grounds, bushlands and public lots are all prime locations for illegal dumping because they are remote, and typically unoccupied at night. Local governments are tasked with managing and maintaining surveillance on these non-powered public sites, yet hiring physical security for each location is simply unrealistic.
Spectur has worked with local government bodies nationwide to improve monitoring of illegal dumping. Our wireless solar security system is the most reliable and sophisticated solution on the market to help councils prevent anti-social crime even in the most remote areas, and reduce expenses while doing so.
Our systems don’t just record illegal activity, they can prevent a crime before it occurs with our three-tier approach to security:
Warning and deterrence: Once a camera detects human activity, it activates a verbal alarm and lighting system that warns offenders that their presence is known and being reported.
Alert: The security system sends both an email and in-app notification of an incident with seconds of activation to selected individuals to improve response time.
Record: The video feed will continue recording until a set time after movement has ceased, providing time-lapse footage of any selected time period upon operator requests. Authorities can continue to pursue legal action with evidence of trespassing.
Our deterrence systems for government organisations are specifically designed in Australia to survive harsh climate conditions nationwide. It’s one of the only truly wireless solutions that can effectively prevent illegal dumping before the financial and environmental impacts are felt.