PEOPLE visiting conservation reserves in the Glenmaggie, Heyfield and Seaton areas are being asked to help combat the rising levels of rubbish dumping in them.
Parks Victoria area chief ranger Mike Dower said staff were finding increasing amounts of household and commercial rubbish, including asbestos, broken glass, mattresses, car tyres, beer bottles, fridges, fish tanks and used syringes.
“This is not only a criminal act, it’s unsightly and a risk to human health,” he said.
“We’re currently doing a major clean-up of these areas with the assistance of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, and increasing patrols in these areas.
“We are also looking at using undercover video surveillance to help us identify, catch and prosecute offenders.
“People should be aware that there are very hefty fines for this behaviour.”
Mr Dower called on the local community to help put a stop to the environmental damage.
“People who see suspicious activity or dumping being done in these reserves are urged to contact Parks Victoria or the police,” he said.
“We need more eyes and ears to catch those who are using our parks and reserves as dumping grounds.”
Mr Dower said keeping the reserves healthy made them great places for people to enjoy healthy activities.
“They are scenic places for walking, picnics, community gatherings, wildflower enthusiasts and other wildlife groups,” he said.
“The Glenmaggie Regional Park also has over 30 kilometres of exciting and environmentally sustainable mountain bike trails at Blores Hill Mountain Bike Park.”
Some of the reserves are home to special plants and trees.
The Glenmaggie Flora Reserve, the Glenmaggie Nature Conservation Reserve, the Glenmaggie Regional Park and the Seaton Education Area contain rare examples of vegetation existing before European settlement.
There are examples of Red Iron Bark and Red Box forests and a diverse array of wildflowers.
Anyone who sees illegal rubbish dumping or suspicious activity in parks or reserves has been urged to phone Parks Victoria on 13 19 63 or Victoria Police.