September update: Kaikōura Zone Delivery Manager

Kaikōura Zone Delivery Manager Kevin Heays provides insight into what is happening on the ground.

Kaikōura Zone Delivery Manager, Kevin Heays

Kev's corner

My monthly ‘Kev’s corner’ is usually something I look forward to – I love sharing the positive and inspiring environmental work that our staff, landowners, and community are doing.

But recently, there has been a spate of household and hunting waste making an appearance in our rivers, on their banks, and across our district and it is something I must address.

It is unacceptable that some locals think dumping their waste in our precious taio/environment is okay. They are failing to see the wider implications this behaviour has on our environment, our people, and our ratepayers.

Fly tipping, a cost to our community

Nearly $2000 has been spent on removing rubbish by Environment Canterbury staff over the past 12 months, in addition to the time it takes to process this waste by Innovative Waste Kaikōura (IWK).

Mostly plucked from our riverbeds, items have ranged from general household waste, fridges, and televisions to car tyres and even whole cars.

Add in the amount of staff time it takes to deal with this disgraceful behaviour and the cost to ratepayers is well over $3000, while taking our staff away from doing other important work.

If we think about those costs relative to other things Environment Canterbury could be providing, $3000 goes a long way. It could provide 150 metres-worth of fencing for a wetland, or 600 plants to build bank stability along one of our local streams or rivers.

IWK exists for a reason. It is the place to go to make sure your rubbish is dealt with appropriately.

Things to avoid when disposing of rubbish

Many people are obviously doing the right thing, but for those who aren’t, these facts/key points might tip them in the right direction:

  • Our local rivers have high ecological and recreational value – dumping rubbish in them can harm water quality, native habitat, and hinder flood protection measures.
  • Spring clean outs DO NOT mean you can throw your rubbish in the river or on its banks. We all love a good clear out, but not if it means ruining our environment.
  • Safety first! Rubbish in our rivers and on their banks poses a health and safety risk to both animals and people. We don’t want our kids, or anyone for that matter, to step on an old rusty nail or cut their hand when they reach down to get a ball to throw for the dog.
  • Cars – burnt or not – seep oil and all sorts of other nasties into our waterways, making the water uninhabitable for water life and unswimmable for people, dogs and pretty much everything else.
  • Dumping rubbish is illegal – under the Resource Management Act, you could be fined $750 for dumping your junk – much more than it costs to simply take it to IWK.
  • Neighbourhood watch is alive and well. Our awesome community sees you, and “raises you” a visit from your friendly Environment Canterbury compliance staff.

Community watch, we thank you

For our wonderful community who are doing what they can to stop this from happening, we thank you.

Remember that time is of the essence - reporting rubbish or other environmental pollution needs to be done ASAP to reduce the risk to the environment, wildlife, people, and pooches.

Ways to report illegal dumping of rubbish:

  • If you see dumped waste at the rivers, call our Incident Response Line, 0800-POLLUTE (0800 765 588).
  • To help us to respond, please try to provide an accurate location, time(s) and date(s) the incident was observed, and a full description of the activity, including photos or video if available.
  • Snap Send Solve is a smartphone app to help make reporting incidents easy. It uses your phone's location to provide an accurate address and can capture photos to help us to identify and investigate the issue. Download the app (for Apple or Android phone) and have a go next time you see some nasty stuff across our community!

Or you can get in touch with one of us in the Kaikōura office – we’d love to have a chat.

Until next time,
Kev.