When you live in a reasonably large city like Sydney (4.34 million people and counting) you get used to a lot of things that people from less densely populated areas would probably find unpalatable. Things like reckless driving, overcrowded public transport, pollution, impatient attitudes, lack of consideration. Sadly, these things and many others are becoming the norm in urban environments.

There is one thing above all that gets on my goat. Every day I can’t stand it more and more. It drives me completely bonkers. That thing is other people’s garbage.

It’s everywhere. On the pavement. In the gutter. In the parks. In the waterways. Plastic bottles. Cigarette butts. Chocolate bar wrappers. It goes on and on and on. It amazes me constantly how easy it is for people just to drop their rubbish and move on. Without a second thought.

To compound this problem I have with other people’s garbage I have a laneway at the back of my house which is frequently the dumping ground for all sorts of broken, useless, filthy items. It makes me angry when people leave stuff in the back lane because not only are they not being responsible for the proper disposal of that item, they are not taking into account the impact their dump may have on other people.

On Friday afternoon someone dumped approximately thirty litres of used motor oil in the back lane. It started at the back of my house and ran all the way down to the cross street. The smell was acrid and pungent, made worse by the fact that it was 33 degrees C with a hot wind.

I fell ill on Friday afternoon with a severe headache, blurred vision, nausea and an upset stomach. I didn’t realise straight away that the oil had been dumped or that it was making me sick. It was only when I got so bad that I had to call a doctor out that he alerted me to the funny smell at the back of the house.

The Council came and cleared it all up. They use detergent and absorbent sand to get rid of the residue. They will be doing an investigation because dumping oil is a serious offence which attracts a huge fine. I hope they find out who did it because I would like that person to know how sick he or she made me. I was in bed all weekend. Three days later I still feel slightly unwell.

One of my neighbours also fell ill. Another lady was walking her dog and he became ill after trying to lick the oil off his paws.

What I don’t understand is why someone would do something like that in a residential area. The Council offers free pick up and disposal of any type of oil, why would someone feel the need to just pour it into the street?

Sometimes the actions of others are simply inexplicable.

24 thoughts on “SPILL

  1. My pet peeve. I think it’s caused by laziness and greed. Let someone else pick it up. It is everywhere. I am sorry to hear about your illness but my bet is that the people who dumped the oil could care less. In California we have to pay to get rid of oil. People are continually leaving full barrels of oil at the trash bins where I work and dumping old and broken furniture all over the place.


  2. That is shocking! Spilled oil is one of the worst environmental problems. They should find the person and lock him up. Sorry you’ve been sick from it.
    God- what an insensitive, lazy nitwit!


  3. When I have my car serviced, I have to pay an environmental charge, to have the old oil disposed of safely.

    It can, apparently, be recycled to make plastics and stuff … and I was interested to learn that some of the steam engines on the Ffestiniog, and other railways have been converted to run off scrap oil.

    They say even kitchen oil will work, but I know of no facility for collecting the stuff … it hurts to dispose of over 3 litres (in a bottle, in the garbage, NOT down the sink!) whenever I clean the deep fryer out.

    It grieved me, only the other day, to see someone had dumped a redundant bathroom suite on one of the paths I like to walk … the thing being, they MUST HAVE had to drive past the recycling centre to get to that track.


  4. People are lazy… the longer I am around the more I realize this is so. To the point where they pollute and make other people sick. They just don’t care…

    Le sigh.


  5. Selma ,I hope you are feeling better.I’m sorry to hear that someone would do such an irresponsible thing.
    Illegal dumping is a big problem here. The county is proposing limits on the hours of operation to the “transfer stations”. These are just giant compactors where people take their rubbish. We have no trash pick up in rural subdivisions. The county says they do not have the funds to keep these stations open and manned 7 days a week. They used to be open and unmanned 24/7, but people would dump appliances, motor oil, construction scraps etc… So now they are guarded . When they limit the hours , I have no doubt we will see a lot more trash on the dirt roads and vacant lots here. Nat is correct…people are lazy…period.


  6. GS BATTY:
    It really is a problem. I think one of the reasons the world is in such a state not just environmentally but socially, financially and so on is because so many people don’t give a hoot about anyone but themselves. It’s a shame.

    I was surprised. I mean, who dumps oil willy nilly like that? Makes me think it’s someone who lives round here. People will never cease to freak me out!

    I just don’t get people who think like that. Imagine being that close to the recycling centre and dumping it anyway. That is outrageous. Some people 🙄

    It’s so frustrating, isn’t it? Sometimes all we can do is sigh.


    I’m sorry to hear that. It really is becoming more and more of a problem as we run out of landfill, etc. I think it’s in Denmark that they burn most of their garbage and it’s done at such high temperatures that it releases very few damaging emissions. There are other places that use garbage for energy and so on. Something like that needs to be done here otherwise in 50 years we won’t see the sea anymore because too much garbage will be piled up on the shore. It’s a bit of a nightmare, really.


  8. I live waaaaay out in “PoDunk” Maine and people here are just as stupid. It makes me crazy to walk down my pretty rural road and see all the TRASH. What? These peopel don’t own trash cans? Trash pick-up and/or a permit to the dump are NOT expensive. Still, dumping oil is the WORST. I surely hope they catch the numb-nut who made you so sick!!!


  9. They are inconsiderate, uncaring eeejits. They don’t give a rat’s ass about the effects of their polluting ways, and will only ever “get it,” when they are fined big bucks!


  10. Probably off their faces on drugs and can’t see anything but their own predicament. To get it picked up would require some effort of looking for the phone number and picking up the phone and ringing it – that would be a bit extreme. To travelrat – you can recycle oil from deep fries and run a modified engine off it – but it would be hard to do. I dumped my deep frier for that very reason of how to get rid of the oil.


  11. The oil thing is just plain rude and nasty. Shame on them!

    In Los Angeles, there are actually “popular dumping areas” so the police put up cameras to catch them! I’m not crazy about “big brother” watching but that works for me!



  12. GROOVY:
    It’s terrible that people are dumping rubbish in your lovely area. What a shame. I just don’t get it. I hope they catch that so-and-so too. If they do they should make him pick up all the garbage in town for an entire year!

    I think a fine would sort people like my oil dumper out. To know he or she had been fined would make my day!

    Oh, yes. Heaven forbid they should have to do anything productive with their day. Did you read about that guy in Queensland who drove over 100kms on vegetable oil? He got it from take away shops. I was so impressed!

    It’s just so uncool, isn’t it? I think there are a few cameras in the city, but so far none here. It would be a good idea to mount one in my back lane!


  13. I didn’t read about that guy – good on him. I’ve seen similar stories where they get the oil from takeaway food places. You have to be pretty dedicated and smart to do that.


  14. I suspect that the ‘guilty party’ was a (so called) professional plumber. Y’see, for some reason, the recycling centre won’t accept ‘trade’ waste. When I had my new bathroom put in, Graham asked me to give him a hand to get the old stuff down to the recycling centre … and the first thing he did before we left was take the magnetic signs off his van!


  15. We have two huge industrial bins at the end of our street where everyone is supposed to dump their rubbish. The people I really don’t understand are those who bother to take their rubbish to the bins but then don’t put it in them; just dump it alongside them so that the feral cats can have a good chomp. Maddening, lazy and ignorant.


  16. Oh gosh, Selma, that is too awful for words. I hope you are now feeling better.

    How selfish some people are – well that is downright reckless and thoughtless – someone could have died as a result.

    I hate to see people throwing rubbish down as they walk along and if they are children I will tell them to pick the stuff up. If it’s an adult I hesitate a bit more as you never know how people will react and I wouldn’t want to be punched or worse over an empty sweet wrapper.


  17. Oh My Goodnesss! That is AWFUL! I cannot believe someone dumped motor oil in the back lane behind YOUR HOME and you fell ILL from the stench and fumes! I sure do hope they find out WHO did that!

    I see people littering all the time and it pisses me off too. UGH! and GRRRR!


  18. That’s insane. Esp. when you have a free service there – no excuses. Redbeard and I were looking at some public land that used to be open as shooting areas for hunters to target practice, but it’s all roped off now so that NO ONE can use it. Why?

    Because people were dumping their trash.

    What a waste. It affects all aspects of life, and folks are just either ignorant or don’t care. What gets me is, where do the latter ones form their attitudes? I can understand being stupid about something – everyone can learn. But not caring? Sad, sad, sad.


    I would love to convert an engine and drive around Australia on old chip oil. That would be so cool. I really hope to do it one day!

    I thought it might have been a tradesman of some sort too. The Council seem to have no idea. It’ll probably remain a mystery for a while.

    That is maddening. I don’t understand why people do that. I bet the feral cats aren’t complaining, though. 😕

    You do have to be careful. I asked a man to pick up his dog poo in the park once and he lunged at me. Some people really don’t like their actions to be questioned. I am feeling better now. It’s a relief!

    I feel worse for the dog than for myself. What’s it got to do the poor dog? It’s bloomin’ well ridiculous!

    It is SO annoying. I’d love to pick up all the garbage and dump it in their living room. That might stop them 😀

    I agree. You can get over someone not having learned about something, but not caring? That is another matter entirely. What a shame they had to rope off all that land. It is such a waste.


  20. We live out in the boonies and have rubbish pick up like everyone else only it’s a fortnightly service instead of weekly.

    There was a spate of rubbish dumping along the main roads a while back…things like old tyres and just general unsightly waste. They put hidden cameras on the light poles and we haven’t seen it much ever since. If caught, they stood to get a HUGE fine and a year’s worth of community service picking up other people’s rubbish. Awesome idea and just what the lazy inconsiderate slobs deserve.

    I hope you are feeling better Sel. It made me angry to read you had got sick and that was the reason. This is exactly why I prefer animals to humans.

    PS I love that little creature that rolls it’s eyes. It just tickles me pink.


  21. I am so sorry to read about you getting ill from this spill Sel, that’s awful. I hope you are feeling better now. Environmental illness is becoming all too common these days. If only everyone actually cared, what a wonderful world it would be. But that just isn’t the case. I guess the only escape is to live in a smaller, greener location. But those are getting harder to find. We live in a city of less than 10,000 but the noise and dirt here is a problem too. Probably one of the biggest reasons I want to head back up North. The water is still pristine up there. And the quiet…oh, the stillness. I miss that so much right now.

    Hugs Sel and take care, G


  22. Sorry you had such a rotten experience. When I hear stories like these it just make me appreciate living in Cairns even more. So clean, simple, easy and friendly. It is odd how city life encourages people to be so selfish isn’t it ?


  23. GYPSY:
    I like the little rolling eye guy too. He just seems to fit my attitude to rubbish dumpers 🙄

    Cameras are a really good idea. That happened to a friend of mine in the country. She used to have tons of bricks and building waste dumped on her land. People are such ratbags, aren’t they? But the cameras stopped it!

    My sister has recently moved back to Alaska for the same reason. You can’t get much more pristine than Alaska. The selfishness gets to me too. There’s no need for it, really.

    Cairns is a gorgeous spot. Very hot, though. But it really is a gorgeous place. I love the scenery. I really appreciate you visiting!


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