Locals and tourists told to take responsibility for their own rubbish

By Anna McGuinness

EVERY year, when Echuca-Moama fills up with visitors over the holidays, rubbish too, builds up around the twin towns and river.

Despite Campaspe Shire Council providing a rubbish skip at the Echuca East boat ramp, litter is left strewn on either side after the skip fills up.

Local resident John Micalizzi took matters into his own hands this year.

After New Year’s Day he cleaned up all the rubbish next to the skip.

But it didn’t take long for the pile to build up again.

Less than two weeks later, junk was again lining either side of the skip.

Mr Micalizzi said busy tourist times such as Easter and Australia Day weekend saw "shocking amounts" of litter left in the bush and along the river.

“The amount of rubbish that’s left in the bush has to be seen to be believed, it is absolutely disgusting,” he said.

“The rubbish was so bad it was blowing into the riverbank”.

But he said not all blame can be placed on holidaymakers.

Items left such as a fridge, double and single bed mattresses and a length of hose, are hardly part of the regular holiday packing list.

He said locals are taking advantage of the skip to dump their hard rubbish and avoid paying to leave their bigger items at the tip.

Shire regulatory and community services general manager Paul McKenzie said council spent about $30,000 each year to provide rubbish disposal for campers including providing skips during peak tourist season and free disposal of pre-sorted waste at transfer stations.

However, he too places responsibility on locals to dispose of rubbish appropriately.

“Council is disappointed to see illegal dumping of this nature which is unfortunately indicative of local residents, not visitors,” Mr McKenzie said.

“Skip locations are not dumping grounds for kitchen renovations and other unwanted household items.”

At Echuca East boat ramp, in the time since the skips were put in place just before Christmas, up until January 16, 30.38 tonnes of waste had been removed.

Mr McKenzie said the removal of dumped rubbish on council owned land costs ratepayers thousands of dollars each year.

If you see illegal rubbish dumping taking place, or you have any information about illegal rubbish dumping, please contact council or Parks Victoria.