THE City of Whittlesea has introduced a new plan to reduce illegal dumping, with trials proving successful in some of the council’s worst dumping hotspots.
Run by unwanted item and clothing recovery company SCRgroup, the plan uses research from Oxford University that suggests images of large watching eyes can reduce the occurrence of crime and anti-social behaviour.
SCRgroup key executive Alexis Todorovski said the company’s solution of Alfonzo the Security Guard had already helped reduce illegal dumping in trial areas.
“Results from our trial are in line with the research findings, and our number one hotspot saw dumping decrease by 75 per cent,” she said.
“Although the signs are very successful, they are only one part to a multi-pronged strategy to significantly reduce or eliminate the problem altogether.”
Trials were conducted in Lyndarum at a site that was named SCRgroup’s worst for dumping.
Following the introduction of Alfonzo, the location has dropped from the top hotspot to number 10 over a four-week period.
Ms Todorovski said education programs were also in place to help teach residents the importance of recycling and further reduce the occurrence of dumping.
“SCRgroup runs a national fundraising and education program that educates our future generations about the importance of reuse and recycling and introduces them to illegal dumping and why it’s so bad for our environment,” she said.
“The education program is very effective, with almost no illegal dumping reports from our school sites.
“We are working closely with council to provide more services to residents so they have access to convenient and cost-effective avenues to dispose of their unwanted items, such as free home pickups.”
With Christmas approaching, SCRgroup hopes dumping can be significantly reduced compared to illegal dumping statistics of previous years. Instances of illegal dumping typically spike during this time, with companies, charities and councils left to clean up.
Ms Todorovski hopes Alfonzo can continue to improve the situation in the City of Whittlesea.
“We believe this concept should be part of public policy especially when it comes to illegal dumping,” she said.
“The trials have proven that the research is right, and the methods we’ve introduced have definitely had a positive impact.”