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SA EPA cracks down on illegal dumping in waterways

The South Australian EPA is taking a staunch stance on illegal dumping with a recent fine resulting in one man ordered to clean up a waterway after dumping electronics.

 The 48-year-old Port Pirie man was fined $2000 for dumping more than 200 kg of scrap metal in Spencer Gulf. The man was creating artificial reefs for recreational fishing.

Marine litter continues to be a huge problem with an estimated are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of that mass, 269,000 tonnes float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometre litter the deep sea, according to National Geographic.

The SA EPA stepped up in this case after receiving a report in June 2019 that a man had approached a number of people looking for scrap metal to use in artificial reefs.

EPA director for regulation Stephen Barry said the Port Pirie man was believed to be launching his boat from the Port Davis boat ramp near Port Pirie, leading EPA investigators to begin a two-month surveillance operation.

“We were able to identify the boat, then locate two disposal sites about 6 km offshore, in 8 m of water.

“When we initially interviewed the boat owner, he denied being involved in artificial reef creation, but when he was shown photographs of his boat filled with old television aerials, he admitted to disposing of litter in marine waters,” Barry said.

In December, he was issued with a notice to remove and appropriately dispose of the aerials at his own cost by January 17, which he has complied with.

“We would like fishers to understand that they cannot simply create their own private reefs,” Barry said.

“Material like this breaks down over time, creating pollution and creating hazards for other boaties.

“Technology allows the EPA to undertake on and offshore surveillance, and we will take action to protect the marine environment, issuing fines and clean-up notices like these.”

Under the Local Nuisance and Litter Control Act 2016, it is illegal to dispose of litter in marine waters.