Rubbish dumped illegally, then set alight
Rotting animal carcasses, household rubbish, and tyres are not what you would expect to see near a scenic river.
But for the past week, that has been the reality for those checking out the usually scenic Mangatainoka River near Eketahuna.
But in a twist of events late Sunday afternoon, the culprit behind the dumping, may end up being identified.
The rubbish, which had been illegally dumped along the Mangatainoka River’s edge, included vehicle tyres, household rubbish, a set of drawers, and rotting animal carcasses including a head and hooves.
The site of the dumping, near Stirling Bridge, is about 10km north of Eketahuna near Nireaha.
Stevie Carrington, who lives on a farm close to the bridge, noticed the rubbish pile early last week, and took to an Eketahuna Community Facebook page to voice her concerns.
However, on Sunday afternoon, Carrington saw that someone had returned to light the pile on fire.
Firefighters were not called, but a nearby resident had managed to save an addressed letter from the pile before the fire, and would take it into the council as evidence, Carrington said.
“We aren’t just going to sit back and let people do that.”
Tararua Mayor Tracey Collis said she had “zero tolerance” for illegal dumping of rubbish.
She was “appalled” to see such a large amount of rubbish simply just dumped, especially near a river.
“It looks to me like someone has cleaned out their property and just chosen to dump their rubbish.”
Whatever the reason was, Collis said “there is always another option”.
What concerned her was the wide range of items in the pile.
Animal hooves among the rubbish raised the question of whether the animals were owned by the people who dumped it, she said.
They had only thought of themselves, not the environment or the ratepayers who would take the hit for the clean-up, she said.
Collis said this was the “second incident in a short space of time” where she had seen a significant amount of rubbish dumped.
She hoped infringement notices would be issued.
The “disgusting” sight and the strong stench angered another Eketahuna resident who walks her dogs regularly near the site.
Cheryl Banks discovered the rubbish pile last weekend and was disappointed that people thought they could dump rubbish for others to clean up.
“It’s disgusting, and it smells,” she said.
Banks said she had made a complaint to the Tararua District Council early last week when she first noticed the rubbish, and followed up with a photo the next day.
“We do need some results because what it’s saying to people is that it’s okay to do this.
“They obviously don’t think they are going to get caught.”
From September last year to May, the council had collected 4.63 tonnes of rubbish, Mayor Tracey Collis told the Times-Age in May.
Eketahuna Community Board chairman Charlie Death lives about three kilometres from the bridge and said the pile was still there on Sunday afternoon.
It was “unfortunate” and “frustrating” that someone had dumped the rubbish.
He described the amount as a small truck-load and it could be seen from the road.
He questioned why someone had dumped it, and whether it was a matter of rubbish dump affordability.
“At the end of the day ratepayers are going to have to pay to get that cleaned up.”
Both Banks and Death hoped the culprits were found.
Under the Litter Act 1979, a $400 infringement notice can be issued or, if prosecuted, a $7000 fine.