Illegal dumping hotspot monitoring in Melton

Melton City Council’s Litter Prevention and Education Officer has requested that his public place waste management contractor use the VLAA Local Litter Measurement Toolkit (LLMT) to monitor and collect data at two illegal dumping hotspots within the municipality to inform strategies for better management.

Organisation snapshot

The City of Melton is situated on Melbourne’s rural-urban fringe, and is one of the fastest growing municipalities in Australia with a population of 129,194 as of September 2014. Close to 30% of the City of Melton’s population were born overseas with around 20% from a non-English speaking background.

The municipality is linked to key freeways, airports and the Port of Melbourne, and embraces a series of townships and communities including Caroline Springs, Diggers Rest and Melton.

Background

Each year close to 800 tonnes of illegally dumped litter is collected in the City of Melton. The cost to ratepayers to dispose of it is around $800,000. Council's Litter Prevention and Education Officer, Dylan Weeks, investigates reports of such litter, but like any municipality with the geographic spread and rapid growth of Melton, prevention poses many challenges.

In 2013 Dylan had the opportunity to participate in contract negotiations to appoint a service provider to manage the City of Melton’s public place waste management. As a result this contract now requires the service provider to fill out a modified version of the LLMT Litter Logbook Form when attending illegal dumping incidents at two known litter hotspots for monitoring and data gathering purposes.

Further to this, Melton City Council was successful in obtaining funding from EPA Victoria to assist with efforts in dealing with illegally dumped litter at these known hotspots as part of their Small Scale Illegal Dumping program.

 

The project

Melton City Council’s aim is to reduce the occurrence of illegal dumping and encourage correct waste disposal. It is delivering a targeted program consisting of education, infrastructure and enforcement interventions, with ongoing monitoring and evaluation.

This monitoring is being undertaken by the public place waste management contractor who uses a modified version of the LLMT Litter Logbook Form collecting data on date, location and a litter hotshots rating. This data is collated in the LLMT spreadsheet for analysis and has allowed litter hotspot maps to be produced.

Outcomes

Through the integration of the LLMT into the public place waste management contract, Melton City Council has been able to gather consistent and tangible data on litter hotspots which are being used to inform litter prevention activities.

The ongoing, weekly collection of data will monitor changes over time as interventions continue to take effect. It could also highlight new and emerging litter hotspots where displacement dumping, movement of hotspots due to interventions at existing ones, may be occurring.

Both Melton City Council and the public place waste management contractor have developed a manageable solution for data gathering by adapting the LLMT to best suit their needs and capacity.

“Over the past few months we have been filling out logbook sheets for the hotspot locations. The last thing you want to do after picking up illegally dumped rubbish is paperwork but Dylan has made it very easy and quick to fill out.”

Urban Service Solutions

Challenges

Correct and regular use of the LLMT Litter Logbook Form by the public place waste management contractor was challenging. The form is quite detailed and for the purposes of monitoring two known hotspots was far too onerous.

To overcome this Dylan simplified the form to include just the key data that was needed for the project and BehaviourWorks Australia - the research contractor for the Small Scale Illegal Dumping program - delivered a training session to encourage and explain how to use the tool. The context explaining why data was being collected and what it would lead to was also explained in this training session.

Next steps

It is expected that the results from the Small Scale Illegal Dumping program and the data that has been collected will inform Melton City Council’s future response to management and prevention of illegal dumping.

The use of the LLMT will continue in a form which allows relevant and useful data to be collected and analysed. Melton City Council will strive to self-manage the LLMT spreadsheet once the contractors work as part of this project is complete.

 

Further information

For more information contact
Dylan Weeks on 03 9747 5363 email dylanw@melton.vic.gov.au or visit www.melton.vic.gov.au