The federal government is being called on to address the growing problem of illegal tyre dumping, with Wyndham among the council areas worst affected.
Environmental authorities found 2700 tyres dumped on public land in Victoria last year with The Conservation Regulator and Parks Victoria recording at least 60 separate illegal dumping incidents and Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) estimating that thousands more have been dumped, burned, or stockpiled.
According to Lina Goodman, CEO of tyre industry representative body Tyre Stewardship Australia, much of that illegal activity occurs in areas like Wyndham.
“What we’re finding is that unfortunately those municipalities that have a combination industry, housing and parklands present a perfect scenario for opportunistic operators to dump tyres,” she said.
“Wyndham is one of those.”
Dumped tyres are not only unsightly but present an environmental and health hazard, emitting toxic smoke if they catch fire and providing a breeding ground for disease carrying mosquitos.
Wyndham council estimates that it spends $6000 per month collecting 500 illegally dumped tyres on average.
A spokesperson for Wyndham council said the problem didn’t end with collection.
“The biggest impact is that the tyres need to be collected separately and not mixed with other waste as they cannot be separated at the Refuse Disposal Facility,” the spokesperson said.
“This can put pressure on waste collection services, and we occasionally need to engage
subcontractors to assist, which adds additional costs.”
Ms Goodman said while local governments bear the brunt of the problem, it was up to the the federal government to provide a solution.
“ What we need to happen is for the federal government to step in to put in a regulatory scheme for tyres so that rogue operators can no longer do business. If the federal government fails to regulate local councils like Wyndham will be paying for dumped tyres forever.”
The office of Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek was contacted for comment.
The rogue operators Lina Goodman refers to are those pretending to be tyre recycling companies.
“They take money from unsuspecting retailers and they just don;t recycle the tyres but dump them instead,” she said, adding that the practice had impacted real tyre recyclers.
“I was talking to some of our legitimate recyclers and they’ve indicated they’ve seen a 40 per cent impact to their business by rogue operators pretending to be recyclers.”
Ms Goodman said consumers wanting to make sure they visit a legitimate recycler could search TSA’s website or look for its accreditation logo on display.
A spokesperson for Wyndham council warned those caught dumping tyres illegally faced stiff stiff penalties.
“If an individual or business is caught dumping tyres, they face significant fines from council for
littering, and from the EPA for failing to comply with the requirements. A Hoppers Crossing business was recently fined close to $20,000.”