A Hawke’s Bay man is fed up with the growing piles of trash dumped illegally off State Highway 2 in Mōrere.
The piles include old concrete, what appears to be wood and other building materials from a home, liquor bottles, and household trash. Down a bank above the Nuhaka River, old televisions and discarded white appliances can also be seen among the bushes.
Richard Ewels has lived in the area for 10 years and says the gravel area by the highway has been a popular dumping ground for some time.
Almost three years ago, Ewels caught two Chorus employees dumping trash in the bush near the highway.
Ewels said he does his best to clean up roadside litter himself, but he can’t tackle road piles.
But it looks like the authorities themselves are struggling to keep up with the cleanup of the gravel area next to the highway.
Ewels messaged the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) – which is responsible for collecting rubbish on and along national highways – over a week ago on April 27, saying the area was an “absolute mess”.
The NZTA came back and said the issue could be escalated to a contractor.
But Ewels messaged again on Thursday, saying the problem had ‘worsened exponentially’, in large part due to the huge pile of dumped wood, which can be seen from the highway due to its size. . The other piles of garbage are also still there.
“The place now feels like a full tip,” Ewels wrote. “Absolutely disgusted by the lack of any meaningful action.”
“Why was he left for so long?” Ewels wondered to 1News.
An email from NZTA contractor Higgins seen by 1News said he had asked the agency for funding to try to find a cure for the area.
“We can’t just clean this up with our cycle crew truck that maintains the road network for waste.”
Ewels believes most illegal dumping could be stopped by installing gates at both access points to the gravel area, signage and security cameras.
He called it “no brainer”.
Jaclyn Hankin, NZTA Regional Maintenance and Operations Manager for the Central North Island, said she was aware of the fly spill near Mōrere Hot Springs and hopes it will be cleared of mines. here at the end of next week.
Hankin said it was no small job and it would likely take several truckloads to clean it up.
“Waka Kotahi is also investigating solutions to prevent fly dumping of this area in the future by restricting access.”
Hankin said the Omicron outbreak was impacting Higgins, who prioritized potholes, surface damage and signs and markings over trash.
The “neediest” areas and those that were more urban were sought first for garbage collection.
Hankin also said it’s disappointing that people continue to dump household and commercial trash illegally on the sides of the country’s national highways.
“Not only is it an eyesore, but it can be dangerous for road users and road workers, and the cleanup diverts time and funds from other essential road maintenance activities.
“The cost of cleaning up and disposing of some sites can run into the thousands of dollars, far more than what it would cost someone to haul it straight to their local landfill.”