Forced to swim between the fags

THE smoking rate may be falling but the tossing of cigarette butts is on the rise as NSW faces a new litter crisis.

NSW is now the most littered state according to the National Litter Index, compiled by Keep Australia Beautiful. Western Australia topped the index last year.

An average of 75 items of litter for every 1000 square metres were found in NSW. Cigarettes, paper and plastic items were the most common litter items, with cigarettes making up 46 per cent of the waste. Industrial sites, retail locations and car parks were the worst places for litter among 151 sites tested across the state.

Keep Australia Beautiful chief executive Peter McLean said he was not surprised by the results. He called for stronger enforcement of on-the-spot fines – rather than the current warning system – to curb the littering.

”By introducing simple legislation it would have the highest impact. If we had extra laws put in place and people were fined on the spot for littering, it would make them think two, three, four times before they would litter again, particularly from motor vehicles, industrial areas and car parks.”

A report from environmental group Clean Up Australia found cigarette littering had risen 6 per cent in a year, despite Cancer Institute of NSW research showing smoking rates are at their lowest, declining 5.1 per cent since 2003.

Clean Up Australia founder Ian Kiernan said the increase in the littering of butts and plastic bottles was a ”major worry”.

”Most Australians care and walk over to the bin but there is an element there who couldn’t give a rats,” he said. smoking fags

A spokeswoman for NSW Environment Minister Frank Sartor said 6820 littering fines were issued in the state last year – 4141 of which were issued by local government. More than 4041 warning letters were sent for littering from cars, dobbed in by members of the public.

Mr Kiernan called for a program such as South Australia’s bottle collection deposits, which results in an 87 per cent recovery, to be set up in NSW. ”We have been campaigning for 20 years for this. Instead of seeing a bit of rubbish in the park or at the beach, suddenly they are seeing money. Incentive really works but we need a whole raft of things, and the government needs to do more.”

A spokeswoman for Planning Minister Tony Kelly said the government was working to reduce litter: “We have enforcement, infrastructure and education strategies in place to reduce littering rates in NSW, and in addition have provided almost $2 million funding to local councils to support its work.

”We also provide funding to Keep Australia Beautiful for the litter index.”

The NSW government will today announce an initiative to eliminate waste, with a recycling facility in Silverwater diverting up to 56,000 tonnes of construction waste a year away from landfill.

A spokesman for federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said the government was committed to working with state and territory ministers on a national waste policy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture. Click on the picture to hear an audio file of the word.
Anti-spam image