Rubbish takes over Auckland rail

August 22, 2019

Rubbish takes over Auckland rail

Rubbish being dumped outside of Te Mahia station. Photo: Candice Jones

Household rubbish illegally dumped alongside railway tracks is being ignored by transportation authorities controlling Auckland’s Southern Line between Papakura and the city.

Dozens of black sacks, some chairs, a mattress and a treadmill are some of the items being cast away, but unless it is reported on, it is likely to remain there.

Chairman of Zero Waste New Zealand Marty Hoffart said it was not a good look for New Zealand or the government to have this magnitude of rubbish on our railways left unattended.

“If everyone can see it, its not a good look is it? The government owns KiwiRail it is a government department and if we are trying to lead by example… they should act on it quickly,” said Hoffart.

KiwiRail’s General Manager of Operations, Siva Sivapakkiam said that they were responsible for managing litter and rubbish on most of the land in the rail corridor expect for 50m either side of rail stations which falls under Auckland Transports responsibility.

“Litter and rubbish can be an issue on the rail network with a lot being illegally dumped sometimes in large quantities which is not only dangerous but illegal.”

“We follow up all these reports. If rubbish is on our land, we advise our field teams who deal with it as soon as they can,” said Sivapakkiam.

Despite KiwiRail investigating rubbish issues, they only do so once they are alerted of a rubbish problem and don’t have a regular maintenance clean up of the area scheduled. Unfortunately, the same goes for Auckland Transport.

“[We] have contractors who check the rail stations and identify sites that require track and boundary cleaning… This work is undertaken when services are not operating and the overhead power lines can be isolated which needs approval by KiwiRail,” said Mark Hannan, Media Relations Manager for Auckland Transport.

Last year, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff established a hotline for people to report illegal dumping and increased the amount of enforcement staff and CCTV cameras in hotspot areas.

Even with these laws in place, it is hard to catch someone in the act. Chairman of Zero Waste New Zealand Marty Hoffart said it’s catch 22 because there is a lot cost involved in catching people out if you don’t have evidence that they did it.

“It’s nice to have all these penalties to get people not to litter, but if you don’t do anything about it then why have the law in the first place,” said Hoffart.

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