It’s a surprise that no farmer wants when checking their property - a pile of someone else’s garbage unloaded and left to rot in a paddock. It is illegal, infuriating and insulting and it happens all too frequently. No Queensland farming region close to an urban area has been immune.
There have been tyres, building waste, old appliances, broken furniture, bags of clothing and even rotting household food scraps and nappies dumped in cane fields.
It saddens me that people think that the farms that grow the food they eat can be treated as rubbish dumps while the farmers themselves take so much care and pride in their land. While part of the population is interested in clean and healthy food, it seems some among us don’t care or don’t see the connection between their contaminating actions and their dinner plates.
It angers me that the people doing the dumping are happy to pass on their mess and the cost of its disposal to someone else. As well as it being very upsetting that someone thought your property should be their dump, the clean-up and disposal costs can be substantial for the farmer faced with an unexpected mess.
It is unpleasant and even quite dangerous in a health and safety sense to have to pick up someone else’s refuse. It takes time away from the work that needs to be done on the farm and it costs money to take it to the dump.
The Queensland Government has recently opened a scheme to help landholders with the costs of illegal dumping. It is welcome that some of this cost can be shared but it is disappointing that this is necessary.
The Keeping Queensland Clean: Illegal Dumping Grant Program will provide up to $500,000 in grants for projects to reduce the amount of illegally dumped material in the environment and assist with its appropriate disposal or recovery. Grants of up to $50,000 (excluding GST) are available to help to remove illegally dumped hat is difficult to access or requires specialist equipment to remove due to the location or size of the material.
Sadly, some landholders will find this very useful, for example the grower whose paddocks were flooded because a load of illegally dumped renovation waste dammed up a creek.
Applications are open until 18 February. The reality, though, is that the problem will extend beyond the application date and farmers like me will keep facing clean ups unless there is an attitude change in the community.
We produce your food, we do it to the best of our ability on land that we care for. So, my request is, please respect the farmers and the land that is the source of your food. Farms are not dumps!