Laurieton's shame - illegal dumping

“Incredibly sad” is how one Laurieton resident describes her daily bushwalks with her partner.

The dumping of household, garden and furniture waste is on the rise, she said.

The resident, who does not wish to be named, said her sadness stemmed from understanding the damage the garbage is causing the bush and onward flow into waterways.

“Also, a lot of this stuff is in good condition and would be valued by anyone in need,” she said of toys, appliances and baby equipment dumped in the fire trails behind Mill Street Laurieton.

Walking through the bushland we photographed general household garbage, food packaging, dirty baby nappies, some in ripped garbage bags others loose in different piles.

There was furniture, some in reasonable condition which could have been donated to charity organisations. A fully-decorated Christmas tree dumped in a garbage bag.

“The baby furniture just reduces me to tears,” the woman said.

“I know young mums in the community who can’t afford many toys, change tables and cots. In the bush here there are toys in perfectly good condition, a cot, a change table I would have loved when my children were babies.”

There are toys which if they hadn’t been rained on in the bush would have been welcomed at a toy library. There are two large cuddly plush toys which would have been given love at a childcare centre.

The amount of furniture, toys and appliances look like someone has had to suddenly get rid of a few rooms’ worth of goods, but the rubbish around it seems like this isn’t the first time this same person has done it.

“I just don’t understand it. St Vincent de Paul is just down the road from here.”

Among the bags of rubbish is mail, birthday cards for a one year old, legal notices, lease agreements and other personal information lying exposed in the bush.

The nature, location and contents of the household waste indicates who the perpetrators may be. In a few dump spots, the names on envelopes in the rubbish are the same, although the address has changed from Hannam Vale to Laurieton.

Other items in the bush appear to be dumped by other opportunists; tyres, car batteries, outdoor furniture, garden waste, surplus toilet seats and machinery fan belts.

“I have reported the mess to the [Port Macquarie-Hastings] council on their website,” the woman said.

“But nothing has changed over several years. It’s still going on, it’s still here.”

She said she understands dealing with household waste can be difficult for families living in rental properties.

“When you rent you have to deal with the bin provided by the landlord. If you have a family, the small red bins are not suitable. 

“I think the council’s crackdown on people illegally dumping their rubbish in public bins also makes it difficult for these people. I think dumping this in a council bin is a better option than dumping in the bush.

“Taking rubbish regularly to the tip can be expensive, but it’s better than ruining the habitat of our wildlife and the waterways we swim in. The garbage is creating a danger to public health with dirty nappies and broken glass exposed.

“I think the council needs to review it’s waste policy and make it cheaper for people to do the right thing.

“But the fact that people still dump green waste in the bush just doesn’t make any sense at all because the council actually collects that in your green bin every week. If you can’t fit all of your garden waste in one week, put it aside and wait for the next week’s collection. It’s not that hard.”

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