By Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.
When it comes to dumping waste, it may come as a surprise to learn that in New South Wales, under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997, you are only allowed to unload that waste at a place that can lawfully accept it.
Indeed, if you transport your unwanted discards to an area that is not considered a permitted waste facility, under the aforementioned body of law, both the owner of the waste and the transporter can receive hefty fines.
For one 29-year-old man from Ellangowan, this was the expensive lesson learnt as he was hit with a whopping $7,500 fine after he illegally dumped over 40 livestock carcasses at the Bungawalbin State Forest in northern part of NSW.
Making matters grimmer, it is suspected the animals were possibly butchered elsewhere first for the sake of pet food, before being transported to the site.
Now, along with paying his fine, the man has been issued an order to clean up the waste within 60 days
What Rural Crime Investigators Discovered at Illegal Dumping Ground in Bungawalbin State Forest
ABC News (https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2020-04-23/man-fined-for-illegally-dumping-dozens-cattle-sheep-carcasses/12177638) reports that on 23 April 2020, rural crime investigators were called to the Bungawalbin State Forest in the south-east of Casino after being notified of an unlawful dumping by another government organisation.
When police arrived at the dumping ground, they made the grim discovery of animal remains with bullet holes in their skulls.
Almost 40 to 50 animal carcasses in total were witnessed.
Given their deep state of decomposition, the discards also released a ghastly stench at the scene.
Police Determine Variety of Animals Likely Purchased from Several Locations to be Made into Meat Supply
Police concluded the animals and cattle may have been slain earlier in another location to be turned into pet food.
Addressing the illegal dumping of the carcasses, Detective Inspector Cameron Whiteside said officers were exposed to an assortment of decaying animals and copious dead cattle.
“Police attended and saw over 40 heads of dead cattle as well as numerous other animals including sheep,” Detective Inspector Whiteside said.
He said it was hard to determine every kind of animal due to the state of decomposition.
“We believe the animals were purchased from various locations for their meat and were butchered elsewhere for that purpose.
“Then the carcasses were dumped in the state forest after they had been butchered.”
Detective Inspector Whiteside made clear the location was not a designated waste facility under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.
“Therefore, you can’t just dump these carcasses anywhere, they have to be disposed of in a manner which is not going to cause any harm to the environment or to others,” he said.
The 29-year-old man was slapped with a $7,500 fine for transporting hazardous waste to an unlawful facility.
He has been ordered to dispose of the waste lawfully or risk additional fines for non-compliance.
For more information on this area of law, call CDLA to speak to a criminal lawyer in Sydney (https://www.criminaldefencelawyers.com.au/) today.
The Law on Unlawful Transporting or Depositing of Waste in NSW
In NSW, it is against the law to transport waste to a location that cannot lawfully accept it.
This is made clear in section 143 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/1997/156/chap5/part5.6/div3/sec143), and for the most part, is in place because illegally dumped waste harms the environment.
If waste is transported to a place that is not a lawful waste facility for that waste, then both the owner of the waste and the transporter are guilty of an offence attracting the following heavy maximum penalties:
- For a corporation: $2 million if it involves asbestos waste, otherwise $1 million; or
- For an individual: $500,000 if it involves asbestos, otherwise $250,000.
An “owner” of waste includes, in relation to waste that has been transported, the person who was the owner of the waste immediately before it was transported.
As the NSW Environment Protection Authority (https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/waste/transporting-waste) advises, waste is not simply rubbish and unwanted material. It also includes:
- excavated material such as dirt, sandstone and soil
- construction, building and demolition waste, such as asphalt, bricks, concrete, plasterboard, timber and vegetation
- contaminated soil
- waste tyres of asbestos – which now have special requirements applied on their transportation.
Additionally, an environment protection licence is required to transport higher risk wastes, referred to as “controlled” or “trackable” waste.