In an effort to capture video evidence of illegal dumping and polluting in the state, Australia’s Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has launched a new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program.
According to Damian Wells, executive director of regional services, the program will increase EPA’s ability to detect illegal dumping in remote and difficult-to-reach locations and subsequently prosecute offenders.
“We know that land with minimum visibility tends to be an attractive place for illegal dumping because offenders think no one’s watching,” says Wells. “They shouldn’t be so confident now.”
He says the launch of the UAV program builds on the work of EPA’s Illegal Dumping Strikeforce, a program dedicated to reducing the illegal dumping of industrial waste, such as concrete, timber, bricks and asbestos, on public and private land.
Last financial year, EPA says it issued 98 remedial notices to stop or clean up illegally dumped waste across the state.
The agency says it has gained Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) certification to operate the program and must abide by CASA regulations, including requiring licensees to keep their UAVs more than 15 meters away from people. In addition, the drones must be operated within the visual line of sight and cannot be operated over populated areas.