GALLERY: Wollongong's junk piles grow

Illegal dumping spiked in Wollongong over the festive season as residents looked for a quick fix to get rid of unwanted junk.

The city's dumping hot spots have been hit repeatedly over the past few months, forcing Wollongong City Council inspectors to regularly monitor sites for rubbish.

Dumping incidents almost doubled with rangers investigating 123 cases, compared with 63 the previous quarter.

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Streets in Mount Kembla, Kembla Grange and Yallah proved popular with would-be dumpers, along with Fred Finch Park in Berkeley, Maddens Plains and Mount Keira lookout.

While the council did not issue any fines for illegal rubbish, one clean-up notice was handed out.

Offenders can be given on-the-spot fines of up to $1500 for individuals and $5000 for businesses, with punishment under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act reaching up to $250,000 and possible jail time.

Harry Graham Drive near Robertsons Lookout.

A council spokeswoman told the Mercury ratepayers ultimately bore the brunt of illegal dumping.

"These [incidents do cost the council and ultimately ratepayers] due to the cost of removing the illegal waste and the impact to the environment," she said.

"Given this, the council actively pursues illegal dumping with the aim of prosecuting."

The spokeswoman noted there had also been an increased demand for the council's on-call household clean-up service in the lead-up to Christmas.

The service was booked solid through December, averaging 126 collections daily, compared to an average of 95 and 105 collections per day for October and November respectively.

Clean-up staff are set to be busy until the end of the month with the service booked out.

The spokeswoman said trips to Whytes Gully tip had also markedly increased late last year.

"Visitation was 68 per cent higher in the week after Christmas, compared to the week prior," she said.

"There was also a noticeable increase in residents taking advantage of the free drop-off service for recycling cardboard and bottles at the waste depot."

Illegal dumpers may have been deterred down south as Shellharbour City Council noted a decline in dumping incidents.

Council inspectors attended to 124 cases, compared to 196 in the previous quarter, but continued to monitor known hot spots.

In Kiama, rangers did not record any increase in dumping but also continued to keep a close eye on popular dumping sites.

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