Beware of waste disposal ads on social media

Following a recent successful illegal dumping prosecution in the Manukau District Court, Auckland Council is cautioning Aucklanders to be wary of cheap waste disposal services advertised on social media.

The defendant was charged with three separate charges under Section 15 of the Litter Act 1979 and entered guilty pleas to all charges.

He was convicted and sentenced to pay a fine of $1500 and $130 court costs after the court lowered the fine due to financial hardship.

The prosecution followed an intensive period of investigation by Auckland Council’s Waste Solutions Enforcement Officers, delving into a series of similar illegal dumping incidents across the region.

Victims of the social media scam were offered very competitive rates for rubbish removal online and thought they were using a credible waste removal service.  However, the perpetrator dumped the rubbish in public places around the region.

But multiple reports of illegal rubbish dumping led to the successful prosecution of the accused.

Now, Auckland Council is urging the community to do their research before handing over their rubbish.

“If people are approached in person or via social media by individuals or organisations offering to take their waste away for a very cheap price, then we would recommend caution.  If the offer seems too good to be true, then it probably is,” says Parul Sood, programme director Waste Solutions

Offenders who illegally dump rubbish on public property can either be fined or prosecuted under the Litter Act.

Significant illegal dumping cases can incur a fine of up to $30,000.  Successful prosecutions remain steady at two per year since 2016.

Mayor Phil Goff says Aucklanders are taking full advantage of the 0800 NO DUMP line.

“Calls reporting illegal dumping rose 7.5 per cent in the 2018/19 year to 18,395 reports.

“Illegal dumpers are starting to get the message loud and clear that if they dump their rubbish where they shouldn’t, people are going to report it, our officers will investigate, and perpetrators will get caught,” he says.

Sood says although the situation is improving, people must remain alert and aware and keep on reporting incidents.

“Our ultimate goal is to see no illegally dumped rubbish on our streets or in public places,” he says.