Tree farming stalwart Hancock Victorian Plantations has been honing its hunters’ instinct, in hope of catching its most prized of prey – illegal rubbish dumpers.
Using a network of motion activated cameras at strategic points throughout their Latrobe Valley plantations, HVP can now watch real-time via mobile phone as illegal dumpers empty trailer-loads of household or industrial rubbish within plantations.
Frontline foresters are sent to the site for the red-handed intercept, with information passed on to Latrobe City Council, the Environment Protection Authority and police.
A popular tool among hunters in monitoring remote movements of the prized sambar deer, the cameras are periodically shifted through rubbish dumping hot spots in plantations around Maryvale, Churchill, Moe South and Traralgon.
HVP Gippsland silviculture manager David Neave said the camera network was an effective tool to help monitor and curb the ongoing dumping problem, which had plagued the plantation industry for decades.
“So it’s a great tool to get our chaps to the right spots – what it does really help with is really providing us with vehicle data and movement through the plantation,” Mr Neave said.
“Strangely enough we’ve had people dumping right in front of camera even when they’ve spotted it.
“We had our chaps on the move to catch the guy red handed, and even though they’ve got a ute full of rubbish, they just came up with some crazy excuse that they weren’t planning to dump anything there.”
Mr Neave said illegal rubbish dumping was a frustrating and expensive problem for the company.
“People just think we are the local rubbish dump, which is quite frustrating for us because we throw quite a bit of money at it,” Mr Neave said.
He said HVP undertook a four-week program of rubbish removal every quarter, through which rubbish was removed by Bobcat and tip truck, sorted and delivered to the local transfer station at the company’s cost.
“Not everybody is dumping though – we pick up all the motorbikes, horse riders everything else that passes by the cameras – so it gives us a good idea of movement we’ve got through our plantations,” he said.