Cleaning up after illegal dumpers

Bill Wiglesworth with the latest illegally dumped rubbish.

Bill Wiglesworth with the latest illegally dumped rubbish.

Walmer resident Bill Wiglesworth has again come across illegally dumped rubbish on his regular walk through the neighbouring state forest.

Mr Wiglesworth has been picking up after irresponsible and inconsiderate rubbish dumpers for years. The latest blight on the landscape is a large pile of household rubbish wrapped in a blue tarpoline.

Other rubbish has included a television set, car tyres and dozens of bottles.

He consolidates the rubbish into piles, eventually carting it away, and collects the discarded beer bottles to dispose of them in his own recycling bin.

Initially he said the rubbish wrapped in plastic raised concerns about the possibility of harmful asbestos being dumped but closer inspection revealed a collection of general household waste. He reported the latest find to the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and hopes it will be removed soon but knows it won't be the last time. He said while such selfish behaviour could be excused, he sees high tip fees as a contributing factor to the ongoing problem, acting as a disincentive to responsible rubbish disposal.

Mr Wiglesworth doesn't have a hard rubbish licence himself and pays the tip fees to dump someone else's waste.

"I've offered to keep cleaning up if the department pays the fees but I haven't heard back yet," he said.

In a recent submission to the Mount Alexander Shire Council, Mr Wiglesworth requested council offer free annual tip vouchers and a hard rubbish collection service but was told it was too expensive.

Council said while the idea was popular, tip vouchers were not recommended by waste experts as they did not encourage people to prioritise re-use and recycling, and they also mask the true cost of waste service by spreading the cost to all ratepayers through higher bin charges and disposal fees at the landfill.

Council said its regional waste group was researching the effectiveness of hard rubbish collection but that in rural areas the service was very expensive.

Mr Wiglesworth has also written to council expressing concerns over roadside litter marring the natural beauty of the shire's roadways, especially litter on the approach to Castlemaine along the Pyrenees Highway between Elphinstone and Chewton. He was told it was a VicRoads responsibility and after reporting it, was told there was no regular litter removal program for highways and rubbish would only be removed if it posed a safety risk to drivers.

"I don't know what can be done but I am embarrassed that the main entry to our town from the south can so frequently present such an unpleasant, squalid welcome," he said.