By Luke Voogt
Litterers illegally dumping tents, couches, chairs, mattresses, hammocks, barbeques and other rubbish on the Surf Coast are “causing major problems”, according to local coastal authorities.
“It’s very disappointing for us to find our coastal reserves and dunes trashed,” said Caleb Hurrell, Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority reserves manager.
“It undoes not only the important work we’re doing, but the thousands of hours dedicated local conservation volunteers put into these areas.
“On an average day in Lorne during peak season, visitors leave approximately 10 bags of illegally dumped litter plus an assortment of hard rubbish.”
The authority’s staff take about six hours a day to collect the rubbish, in addition to its contractors picking up 77 240L general waste bins and 17 240L recycling bins from the foreshore.
“We would much rather invest our time and money into improving the coast through our conservation and education programs,” Mr Hurrell said.
“An increase in visitors and the use of takeaway containers, in addition to illegal gatherings, has had a huge impact on the amount of rubbish we’re seeing at the moment.
“Illegal rubbish dumping is a major problem for us, and the negative impacts it has on native flora and fauna is adversely affecting our coastal environment.”
Mr Hurrell urged visitors to take their litter home and stop leaving household and commercial rubbish, and large beach items in and beside foreshore bins.
He said the authority was working with police, Parks Victoria and Surf Coast Shire to crackdown on littering and “the growing number of illegal gatherings” on local beaches.
Surf Coast Shire mayor Libby Stapleton slammed litterers “who seemingly think it’s OK to use our public areas as dumping grounds”.
The rubbish was a “visual blight” on the Surf Coast’s “pristine environment”, she said.
“If rubbish cannot fit into a bin then take it with you – don’t leave it on the ground where it can blow away before it’s collected.”
Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority urges anyone who sees any suspicious behaviour or illegal dumping report it to the land manager or the EPA on 1300 372 842 for littering from vehicles.