Fly-tipping has always been a big problem, but never has it had such a significant effect on communities that are otherwise trying to clean up and green up their neighbourhood. Over the years, the act of discarding large amounts of rubbish illegally has received a crackdown from the government and the police, with fines and even imprisonment likely if the offender is caught. Aside from being unsightly and unhygienic, fly-tipping can cause extensive and long-term damage to the local environment, from polluting the earth, water and air, to destroying habitats for birds, animals, fish and insects. It can also pose a risk to pedestrians, vehicles, children and pets.
Despite us living in an age of environmental responsibility and CCTV, fly-tipping is still prevalent across the UK. This week, the loathsome crime has resulted in a major ramification that affects a huge amount of people and will set the local authority’s recycling efforts back significantly. Asda in Fosse Shopping Park, Leicestershire, has had to shut down its recycling centre due to unmanageable levels of fly-tipping. The centre was in the form of a large repurposed container (an excellent example of recycling in itself), where customers and visitors could deposit cardboard, cans and other recyclable materials, which would then be collected regularly by a lorry. However, the container received all kinds of waste materials, including sofas and fridges, despite there being an official site for such objects only a short distance away.
This flagrant abuse of an essential facility cost Blaby District Council £26,000 over the course of one year, all due to 520 unnecessary trips to clear away the bulky and often hazardous garbage. In the end, the neighbourhood services team simply didn’t have the resources to spend so much time visiting one location to clear unauthorised debris. To further pour salt into the wound, it has been found that a notable percentage of the dumped materials were from Leicester, rather than the local Blaby district.
Whilst Asda’s textile recycling banks will remain for people who would like to donate clothes, the large container is being removed, essentially shutting down the site as a wide-ranging recycling facility.
If you spot fly-tipping where you live, take some notes and contact your local council. For major incidents, please contact the Environment Agency. More information can be found at gov.uk.