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It’s rubbish! The cost of illegal dumping on BoP state highways

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Illegal dumping on and alongside Bay of Plenty state highways is taking time and money away from essential state highway maintenance, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency says.

Waka Kotahi is responsible for rubbish collection on and alongside state highways.

Bay of Plenty System Manager Rob Campbell says earlier this month contractors came across a large pile of rubbish, including furniture, clothing and a dead pig at a single site on State Highway 30.

“The cost for clean-up and disposal for a single site like this can sometimes stretch into the thousands of dollars; considerably more than it would cost someone to take it directly to their local landfill.

“Unfortunately, this isn’t uncommon. In the past three months we have had similar clean-up sites elsewhere on SH30, on State Highway 2, State Highway 5, State Highway 29, State Highway 33 and State Highway 38.

“During three weeks in September our contractors collected more than 1650kg of rubbish in the Eastern Bay of Plenty alone. This equates to 247 bags and 104 hours of work.

“Our contractors work hard to carry out all activities on the network. Rubbish, especially large amounts, can be dangerous for road users and the clean-up can put the safety of our road workers at risk.

“Rubbish clean-up also diverts resource and funding from other important road maintenance activities. We do as much as we can within the resources available but if contractors picked up rubbish full time, then that would be funding and resource that wouldn’t be spent fixing potholes, surface damage, signs or markings.

“All of this is completely avoidable if people just clean up after themselves,” says Mr Campbell. 

People with concerns about rubbish on state highways or who see someone illegally dumping rubbish on a state highway can call 0800 4 HIGHWAYS.

Piles of rubbish under a bridge
Piles of rubbish on the side of the road

Rubbish alongside state highways in the Bay of Plenty.

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