In early 2018, people living on the Surf Coast reported wind-blown litter from local building sites. Surf Coast Shire’s Officer for the Protection of the Local Environment (OPLE) helped stop the litter at its source.

“People moved to the area because of its environmental appeal,” the OPLE said. “But they saw rubbish being blown about. This included Styrofoam blocks, plastic bottles, coffee cups, plastic strapping tape and cement bags.

“They worried about this material getting into the ocean. Styrofoam can break down into small particles which are difficult to clean up.”

The OPLE worked with the council to send co-branded EPA and Surf Coast Shire letters to more than 20 building companies in the area.

The letters included:

  • why litter from building sites is a problem
  • the potential penalties for businesses that fail to meet their environmental obligations
  • EPA guidance materials that help businesses comply with the law.

“Evidence of continued littering can result in Surf Coast Shire Council issuing a Litter Abatement Notice,” the OPLE said. “This stays on the builder’s file for three years and could lead to a fine.”

The OPLE then inspected the building sites to discuss on-site pollution issues with tradespeople.

“I also talked about environmental concerns with site supervisors. For example, I encouraged them to empty skip bins more often. This is so overflowing material can’t blow away as easily,” the OPLE said.

“There has generally been a positive response to our letter and clean up suggestions. Builders appreciate the project’s educational approach.”

Find out more about preventing pollution on building sites.

You can also find environmental resources for the construction industry.

Read more OPLE case studies

Clearing dust in Casey

Solving odour issues in Dandenong North

Preventing stormwater pollution in Dandenong

Preventing odour harm in Keysborough

Protecting waterways in Wyndham

Keeping community safe from waste in Loddon

Protecting stormwater in Brimbank and Hobsons Bay

Reducing noise in Port Phillip

Reviewed 11 August 2020