There's more illegal dumping on roadsides and in parks because of stay-at-home rules, according to the ACT government.
People are stuck in their houses, looking at the unwanted objects they've accumulated and just deciding it's got to go, according to Brett McNamara who's in charge of parks in the ACT.
And Environment Minister Mick Gentleman warned that there are tough penalties for just throwing stuff like mattresses and fridges out in public areas when there are good schemes to have them removed legally.
"Given that we're all at home with the COVID-19 restrictions, people are obviously taking the opportunity to do a bit of a tidy-up around the house, perhaps tidy up the garage, the back-yard," Mr McNamara said.
"What we're starting to detect is that some of that tidy-up work is illegal dumping, and it's incredibly disappointing to see this sort of material now being dumped on the side of our roads, within our nature reserves and within our National Park.
"It just creates more work. Staff - park rangers - have to be taken away from other important duties to tidy this up.
"It's just not on. It really is not on."
Businesses which dump rubbish illegally face a fine of $5000 and individuals a fine of $1000.
The ACT Environment Minister Mick Gentleman warned transgressors that they would be punished.
"Don't come an dump it in Namadgi National Park," he said.
"People that are dumping in the park - it's wrong."
"I know you've got some time to clean up but there is ample opportunity to get rid of your household goods through our bulky goods collection and Soft Landing for Mattresses."
The Soft Landing scheme recycles old mattresses. It charges $40 for the first one and $35 thereafter but it's fast and hassle-free.
The bulky goods scheme is free but limited to older people and military veterans, with a plan for a wider service very soon (though it's not known whether the virus crisis has delayed it).
The ACT government said:
"A free household bulky waste collection service will be rolled out across the ACT from July 2020 to provide households with a convenient and accessible way to dispose of bulky unwanted items.
"Households in Tuggeranong and Gungahlin will be the first to receive the service, with the roll out schedule across the ACT as follows:
- 2021-22: Belconnen, Molonglo and Hall
- 2022-23: Woden Valley and Weston Creek
- 2023-24: Inner North and Inner South
"It is proposed that households will receive a single collection per year of up to two cubic metres for items including damaged furniture and worn out household appliances.
"The allowance for multi-unit developments may differ depending on their size and ability to safely store and collect the bulky waste material."
The ACT government set out the penalties for illegal dumping:
- Basic littering penalties include $1000 for individuals and or $5000 for businesses;
- Aggravated littering by means of littering that could cause injury to person, animal or public place carries higher penalties, being $5,000 for individuals and/or $25,000 for businesses or imprisonment for 6 months or both.
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