STOLEN torched cars, butchered animal carcasses and rotting mattresses were uncovered from the Nerrina State Forest in a massive clean-up.
Sixty volunteers, organised by 4WD Victoria, cleaned up illegally dumped rubbish which they said had doubled since late last year.
Volunteers pulled six torched cars from the forest – a result of the significant rise in the number of cars being stolen, dumped and torched in the city. 4WD Victoria general manager Wayne Hevey said the number of cars found burnt in forests had increased significantly throughout the region.
“They are more and more prevalent … the amount of hard rubbish is always increasing,” Mr Hevey said.
“When we find a burnt out car we notify the police so they can determine if it was stolen – they check the VIN number.”
Volunteers then offer to recover the car and dispose of the metal. Mr Hevey said the reckless actions of criminals had a detrimental environmental impact and threatened animals who could be poisoned by toxic chemicals leeching into the environment.
“It has a huge impact on the environment,” Mr Hevey said.
Firefighters were called to two car fires on Saturday night alone – one in Creswick and one in Mount Helen.
Buninyong Fire Brigade Captain Marc Cannan said crews attended the car fire which was on the edge of bushland at 12.30am on Saturday morning. Police say young recidivist offences are largely responsible for the rise in car fires.
Ballarat City councillor Belinda Coates said the community must ensure those who dumped rubbish, and particularly those who disposed of stolen cars in forest areas, were aware they could not get away with it. Mr Hevey said the group was always finding an increase in rubbish dumping.
Club member Dave Mapleson said the rising cost of disposing of mattresses had contributed to a significant rise after in mattress dumping, particularly after the busy Christmas period.
Cr Coates said the dumping of hard rubbish was a “huge environmental problem”. She said it was particularly disturbing that people were “concealing burnt out cars in bushland”.It is disturbing that people don’t have know the environmental value”.
Any illegally dumped rubbish should be reported to the EPA and the relevant authorities will be prompted to remove it. “We marked 150 sites (because of increase in dumped waste) we were told to bring as many trailers as we could,” Mr Hevey said.
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