Litterbugs are still doing damage

TGL News

It’s Keep Australia Beautiful week in Australia, and this year’s focus is on respecting our roadsides. The campaign is imploring motorists to do the right thing by not littering from their cars and to report anyone they see offending.

According to KAB’s count, litter costs the public pocket between $300 million and $350 million every year.

In Victoria for example, local governments spend more than $98 million on street sweeping services to maintain roadsides against litter. In Western Australia that figure is nearly $30 million, and $20 million in South Australia.

About 20 million cigarette butts are littered in Australia every day, totalling 7 billion per year.

Reports by the Environmental Protection Authority have found cigarette butts to be the number one littered item, making up more than 90 per cent of recorded littering offences from car windows in Australia.

About 20 million cigarette butts are littered in Australia every day, the EPA found, totalling 7 billion per year.

And cigarette butts are not biodegradable; they will never fully degrade, KAB says.

“The filter can be broken down into smaller pieces by the sun but the source material will only become diluted in water or soil.”

KAB also notes that “litter attracts litter”.

“The visual pollution caused by littered butts impacts negatively on businesses and public places and can encourage people to continue littering their butts.”

The good news is that cigarette butt litter has decreased by 32 per cent in the last five years, and 45 per cent since 2007.

Cigarette butt litter has decreased by 32 per cent in the last five years.

Plastic free July did good

Other initiatives, such as the recently concluded Plastic Free July campaign, are also helping promote waste conscious behaviour. By calling individuals to self assess their own reliance on plastics and creation of waste, these types of campaigns may contribute to support for initiatives on community, state, national and even global levels.

The City of Sydney’s Single Use Plastic Pledge, for example, is continuing to attract signatories, and leading to announcements such as the University of Technology Sydney opening its brand new food court that is entirely plastic free.

Read the full story on The Fifth Estate, or find out more about the Single Use Plastic Pledge here.

In South Australia, four entire “precincts” are set to go plastic free with support from the state government. The Adelaide Central Market, the Norwood Parade and The Jetty Road Brighton Traders are the first three, with the fourth comprising all 21 Surf Life Saving clubs across the state.

All cafes, restaurants and retailers in these locations are set to go single-use plastic free, with plans to expand, according to South Australia’s minister for environment and water David Speirs.

“These first four partners are just the first step,” Mr Speirs said, “we expect more plastic free precincts will follow soon given the high quality of the other applications from across the state.”

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