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The Dangers of Illegal Waterway Dumping

Tourism Season is Over

In the process of preparing for next year’s tourists, there is the sad but necessary process of cleaning up after the minority who treat nature without respect. Nowhere is this more of a problem than near the ocean, rivers, or other waterways.

A before and after photo illustrating large amounts of litter that has been reported, and cleaned up, by Snap Send Solve.

Dumping around Waterways and Beaches

According to Clean Up Australia, “46% of all reported rubbish found nationally was in waterways including beaches, rivers and dive sites.” Out of sight of more populated areas, waterways become targets as dumpers are less likely to be caught and fined.

While regular dumping causes environmental damage, dumping near waterways and beaches is a unique threat to the ecosystem, and human health. Unsafe water sources kill more people than any other cause annually. Illegal dumping near water can cause runoff, leaking all kinds of pollutants into nearby water.

Dangerous Leaching of Chemicals

Many councils cite mattresses and furniture as causes for concern, and these items are often treated with chemicals that make them last longer, but also make them dangerous to the environment. Meanwhile, dumped white goods can leach hazardous refrigerants into soil and water, particularly older models that use materials phased out due to their environmental impact.

Another common issue is the prevalence of abandoned camping gear. Abandoned tents constructed using synthetic fibres that do not biodegrade are often left behind due to their low cost. But it isn’t just large items that cause risk.

Water as a Solvent

Because water is a universal solvent, meaning it is highly effective at breaking down most chemicals, waste dumped near waterways is often more dangerous than meets the eye. As dumped rubbish of all sizes breaks down, it releases chemicals used in the production process into the environment.

Every bit counts, as pollutants bioaccumulate in wildlife. This means that even with low levels of the toxic in the environment, continued exposure can cause issues. This means that even though only small amounts of pollutants enter the ecosystem, as it moves up the food chain the concentration is greater and greater, eventually affecting humans. From furniture, to white goods, to common household rubbish — there are often unseen effects of dumped waste.

A before and after photo illustrating potentially hazardous materials that have been reported, and cleaned up, by Snap Send Solve.

Snap Send Solve’s Rubbish Reset Campaign 

That’s why we’re excited to help councils and community groups with our new campaign: Rubbish Reset. Don’t risk an injury lifting heavy, sharp, or otherwise dangerous dumped rubbish during your community cleanup.

Instead, use Snap Send Solve and send a report to your local council. It only takes a minute, and automatically detects the relevant authority based on location data. Working together we can keep our beaches and waterways pristine for marine and human life.