Saturday, April 21, 2012

Waste managementA growing problem

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Every living thing crates garbage, humans above all create by far the greatest quantities of it as well as the most biologically and environmentaly hazardous garbage. Which brings me to the whole reason that I chose waste management. Waste management. What is it, some may ask, “why should I care about what a few dry old men want to do with my trash?”-my little brother.

To start with by definition waste management is “the treatment of substances which have no economic use and may be harmful to the environment”-Oxford Australian dictionary. Secondly the reason that waste management is important is that without it diseases may break loose through poor hygiene, pollution and possible extinction of some species would definitely be major issues that would need to be addressed. So as you can see there is a fair amount more to waste management than just making our community cleaner.

I chose the topic of waste management because it is becoming a serious issue here in the Blue Mountains. I feel that waste management is an important and integral part of our society and therefore needs to be acknowledged as one of the few things that may help to preserve the beauty and splendour of the Blue Mountains for future generations. As well as the fact that the Blue Mountains is now a part of the world heritage list and therefore it is our responsibility to our global community to keep it well preserved using all techniques possible.

In this essay I shall endeavour to bring to light such issues as, what happens to our garbage when were finished with it and where it goes afterwards. I will provide you with tables and graphs, statistics, maps and explain to you many issues concerning our garbage. I will provide you with some information about our local Waste Management Facilities (WMF) and present to you a few different waste management strategies the BMCC (Blue Mountain City Council) utilises to keep our local community, the Blue Mountains clean. I will also attempt to explain to you how the Blue Mountains city council is working to ‘get a grip’ of this growing problem.

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Part of any good essay is research and just as important is how you go about obtaining it. For this assignment I spared no expense in phone bills as I called numerous people at random whom I had never met before and surveyed them, I got some information via the Internet and looked through the BMCC web site to obtained information on garbage disposal and other relevant issues. I Rang the Blue Mountains city council and spoke to Ryan who provided me with information on waste management as Kent who is in charge of the waste management in the Mountains, was at that time engaged on the phone. i visited springwood library and photo copied some reference books about the Blue Mountains waste Management system.

In all the Blue Mountains 88% is National Park, whereas only 1% of it is populated by civilians. So as you can see there is an abundance of space up here in the Blue Mountains.

The BMCC has two WMF’s one situated in Katoomba and the other in Blaxland of course there are other waste management facilities in the Blue Mountains one in Blackheath and the other in Lawson however both of these have been closed down and are no longer in use.


The Katoomba WMF is situated on woodlands road. The Katoomba WMF has been in operation since 106. at the present rate of disposal it has a life expectancy of - years. The site is licensed by the Environment Protection Authority.

Wide ranges of recyclable and reusable materials are diverted from the landfill.

They include kerbside recyclables, green waste, concrete rubble, scrap metal, car bodies and tires.

There is a big facility on site that handles and deals with hazardous materials that are collected each November, materials such as engines and car oil are recycled. On site there are extensive environmental controls such as leach ate ponds, and reticulation systems, odor controls, litter fences and dust controls. These are inspected every months to ensure they are complacent with their license.


The Blaxland facility is situated on attunga road Blaxland WMF’s have been in operation since the 150’s and at the present rate of disposal the current landfill area has a potential life expectance of 0-40years. The lifespan of this facility may be cut down even further due to aboriginal land claims over the valley in which the facility is located. This site operates under the same license as the Katoomba facility it is also monitored frequently.

Like the Katoomba facility the same materials are taken away to be recycled, but there are no facilities to recycle engines and car oil. The council has applied for commonwealth grant funding to build this facility.

All the material going into the Waste Management Facility is weighed and charged according to what is in the load. The garbage is separated and placed in to piles and is ether berried or is recycled.

Blue Mountains waste

Total domestic waste amount bought to the landfill each year.

Year Domestic waste

-00 4710 tonnes

00-01 5714 tonnes

01-0 5078 tonnes

Total amount of waste received.

Year Total waste at landfill

-00 11618 tonnes

00-01 10784 tonnes

01-0 1004 tonnes


Total amount of waste diverted from landfill.

Year Total diverted

-00 57805 tonnes

00-01 404 tonnes

01-0 4166 tonnes

The BMCC provides a weekly kerbside recycling service to all domestic properties in the Blue Mountains. Each domestic property is issued with 55 litre crates to make this service easier for sorting. Therefore not contaminating the recycle stream.

Around our community you will find the following recycle services, the Bottle drop off recycling centers found in Glenbrook, Springwood, Winmalee, Hazelbrook, Katoomba and Blackheath. The kerbside recycling collection program is operated by the Blue Mountains recycling center. The service is conducted on the same day as our domestic waste collection.

Littering and Illegal dumping

Littering and illegal dumping of waste in the Blue Mountains is a problem. People have dumped such things as cars on bush tracks, as well as leaving the rubbish from their lunch. The illegal dumping of old furniture in the bush, and one of the biggest problems of all, take away containers, which can be found all along the great western highway.

The councils responded in 001/00 by spending $7.7million for the provision of waste management services such as domestic waste collection and kerbside recycling, commercial waste collection, waste management facilities, Katoomba, Blaxland, perk and town center street cleaning and waste minimisation programs.

The main ways in which the BMCC funds waste services are; rate revenues from the domestic waste management, entrance fees to the waste management facilities, general rates revenues, different fees and services charge.

Services Provided- Pie Chart

During the clean up Australia day, which was held in March of this year, there were over 600 volunteers who worked on 7 different sites across the Blue Mountains, who cleaned up approximately 0 tonnes of rubbish. Most of the rubbish that was picked up was the usual glad rap, paper, containers, tires, cigarette butts, etc.

The council gives out pamphlets in an attempt to educate us on waste management and the right and wrong things to do concerning it.

For example one of the pamphlets says

“what else can I do with these materials”? It then goes on to explain how we can avoid throwing every day materials out.

“the most important way to manage your waste is to avoid creating it.”

“if you can’t avoid it, reuse it!”

The BMCC have also compiled a list of what cannot be collected these include

Car bodies or heavy car parts, Materials on NON-Residential properties, Organic material, Hazardous materials, Asbestos, Building material, Liquid and trade wastes.

Since the council has made a point about waste management, the disposal rate has been reduced from kg in1 to 460 kg in 00/004. Although the waste at our tips here in the Blue Mountains is being reduced, more is appearing in public places like, parks and the national park. Not only is it a danger to the plant it’s a danger to the native wildlife.

After conducting a quite spontaneous and unorthodox form of surveying people (thinking up a phone number and then calling it) I asked the question “do you think the BMCC is trying hard enough come up with better waste management strategies”. Here are my findings.

Out phone calls;

ɨ 6 people reacted by hurling abusive comments and or hanging up due to the preconception that it was a prank call.

ɨ 7 people said that the BMCC is doing a considerable job.

ɨ 1 people said that the BMCC is not doing nearly enough for such a big issue.

ɨ 6 people could not decide.

ɨ 1 person did not speak English.

The over all result was that the majority based on my sample study thought the BMCC is not doing to well in the strategies department however these are just a very small group the community.

The future actions that are being taken, are the same as what I have mentioned in the evaluation of management strategies.

The council is trying to convey the message across to people to cut down on waste.

More of the community is getting involved in clean up Australia day in the Blue Mountains. Each year more rubbish is being collected on that day. The actions taken by the council have given the community a lot, for example street cleaning on the main street and placing more bins around town centers and parks. The Key Action for 004/005 is to continue the implementation of waste minimisation strategy.

Word count=1666

Blue Mountains-state environment report 001/00.

Blue Mountains management plan 001/00, 00/004.

Blue Mountains city council office.

BMCC Waste Services Handbook.

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