The dangers of fly tipping for the environment
Fly tipping is an increasing menace in the UK. It’s the dumping of waste anywhere except an official waste facility, such as a recycling centre or landfill site and it has enormously damaging effects on our environment.
Why does fly tipping occur?
The reasons for the increase in fly tipping are usually financial. Sometimes people are avoiding a long drive to an official waste facility, particularly if a nearby facility has been closed down. Often charges have been introduced or increased at those facilities too.
Fly tipping can also be a deliberate criminal act. Unscrupulous people will charge others to take waste away but then fly tip the load somewhere nearby. This is a straight scam.
Impact on the environment
The immediate impact of fly tipping is usually an increase in disease-carrying pests such as rats and other vermin. Then chemicals in the waste leach into the ground, contaminating the soil, along with those from the pests now living in the waste. Insect and animals then ingest the chemicals, so they get into our food chain.
Chemicals from decomposing waste are also washed by rain into streams and rivers, then into the water table. The water in our taps comes from these sources so fly tipping puts more pressure on water companies to carry out more testing and purifying.
There can be even more direct results if waste is dumped into rivers or canals, potentially poisoning wildlife and causing problems for people living nearby if flood relief outlets become blocked.
Disposing of hazardous waste is more expensive than general waste such as building rubble or household waste. The unfortunate side-effect is that waste that’s most dangerous to the environment is more likely to be fly tipped.
The environmental effects of fly tipping are grave, but it also hits us in our pockets as it’s usually cleared up by local authorities, paid for by our taxes. For all sorts of reasons it’s vital to dispose of waste correctly.