A dog walker was shocked to come across a man he believed was blatantly dumping rubbish at Mount Clear this week.
Matt Milner was walking his dog through the Canadian Plantation, just off Brittain Street, on Tuesday night when he heard some noise coming from across a hill.
Reaching the source of the noise, he spied a man who appeared to have just dumped a load of broken pieces of timber and other waste from the back of his ute under the pine trees.
Mr Milner confronted the man and started to take photos and videos, though he did not seem concerned about being caught. He later posted the content on social media.
Mr Milner was shocked at the audacity of the man, who did not stop what he was doing when confronted - rather, he pulled out a broom and started sweeping out his ute tray.
The man allegedly told him it wasn't a problem because the timber would eventually break down.
A local to the area, Mr Milner said the fact there was "quite often rubbish dumped" in the plantation was a deterrent to venturing in there - to walk his dog, go for a walk with his family or as a prospector.
"It happens all the time. You don't have to go far to see it. If you drive up Tinworth Avenue or Indicators Lane, there is rubbish everywhere," Mr Milner said, adding that while sometimes it was cleared, another pile would reappear within days. "It is quite frustrating."
He has also seen more worrying items scattered through the plantation - including broken glass and used needles.
"When prospecting off Whitehorse Road, I had my son with me and there were needles on the ground and rubbish dumped with people's addresses on it.
"You can't have a kid running around, wanting to play, and then being stabbed by a needle or standing on one. So we packed up and left. It's not good."
But he knows it is not a problem unique to the area and has also seen rubbish dumped in bushland around Ballarat too.
While he has previously reported rubbish dumping to the Environmental Protection Authority, he has never caught someone in the act. He has lodged a report with the EPA about this incident.
He vowed to walk in the area more often in an effort to catch rubbish dumpers and send his evidence to authorities.
He acknowledged it was an issue that was difficult to address but thinks that installing cameras in the area could "catch a lot of cars going in with full trailers and leaving with empty ones".
"If they start issuing hefty fines and making people accountable, it won't stop it but it might deter a few."
An EPA spokesperson said the authority was investigating the reported incident.
The EPA has powers to enforce the Environment Protection Act 1970 to prevent waste and pollution. Penalties can range from a warning to a financial penalty and prosecution in court.
A City of Ballarat spokesperson said the land was controlled by DELWP but licensed to a Ballarat company- HVP Plantations.
In a statement, they said that illegal rubbish dumping had a significant cost to Ballarat - both financially and environmentally.
"The City of Ballarat regularly inspects known dumping locations and works with its communities to raise awareness."
Tim McBride, Environment and Certification Manager at HVP Plantations, said illegal rubbish dumping on private property was a significant issue.
The company has established a formal agreement with La Trobe City Council in Gippsland, where it helps to fund an officer to police illegal rubbish dumping.
The officer patrols the plantation but is also able to investigate and initiate prosecution orders.
"We would like to elevate this program in more areas of our state," he said, adding that the company would pursue a similar initiative in Ballarat.
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