Parks Victoria is spending approximately $70,000 a year cleaning up rubbish dumped in Bendigo, money it believes would be better spent on visitor facilities, environmental protection or working with neighbours and community.
Acting Goldfields chief ranger Karen Doyle said it was disappointing to see people leaving rubbish in parks and reserves after 1.5 tonnes of waste was removed from five sites in the Shelbourne Nature Conservation Reserve last April.
That figure did not include 400-500 tyres pulled from a ditch, which Parks Victoria was temporarily storing on a private property.
Acting Goldfields chief ranger Karen Doyle said Parks Victoria would call in a tyre recycling service to dispose of them.
“This will cost over $1000 and is expected to be done within the coming six months,” she said.
Ms Doyle said asbestos had been found among the waste that remained in the ditch.
“In line with strict procedures that guide dealing with asbestos to minimise any health risks, Parks Victoria will temporarily fence the area immediately and erect signage warning park visitors of the risk,” she said.
“The site will then be entered onto a register marked for clean up. An assessment will determine how soon the site is cleaned up by a qualified contractor, based upon level of risk, location and resources.”
Parks Victoria urged those visiting the area to stay to marked tracks and always stay away from fenced or signed risks.
Ms Doyle said impacts of dumped waste in the bush around Bendigo included contamination to water supplies, the spread of invasive weeds and animals and birds being affected after eating household waste.
“We ask that people take their rubbish to the nearest transfer station, and their litter home with them, to both protect the environment and to ensure that other visitors can enjoy these special places,” she said.
“There are serious penalties for anyone caught littering or dumping rubbish including fines, and prosecution resulting in convictions and possible imprisonment.”
Ms Doyle urged those who saw someone dumping litter to contact the EPA by visiting www.epa.vic.gov.au/reportlitter or calling 1300 372 842.