Tasmania’s three regional Waste Management Groups are encouraging everyone to celebrate 30 years of community action against litter by joining a clean-up team on Clean Up Australia Day this Sunday 3 March.
Northern Tasmanian Waste Management Group member, Michael Attard, said that volunteers in last year’s Clean Up Australia Day helped remove the equivalent of 688 ute loads of rubbish from Tasmanian parks, streets and beaches and momentum was growing to do more in 2019.
“Local councils across Tasmania have witnessed a jump in community involvement in how waste is managed. Rising community awareness is driving community expectations around waste management, recycling, litter and marine debris,” Michael said. “Waste is moving from being someone else’s problem to become a hot topic where individuals are recognising the consequences of their actions – from what they buy through to how items are re-used, recycled or safely discarded.”
Clean Up Australia Day is the nation’s largest community-based environmental event, established by Ian Kiernan AO in 1989. There were an estimated 25,000 volunteers collecting litter at Tasmanian clean-up sites last year, up from around 17,000 in 2017.
Although the number of clean up volunteers has grown, some common litter items continue to be a problem across the state.
“Discarded metal and plastics were the biggest sources of rubbish collected in Tasmania last year, with alcoholic and soft drink cans making up the largest number of individual items,” said Michael.
“When looking at the grouped data, beverage containers as a category were the largest at just over 37% of all collected rubbish. States with well-established container deposit schemes such as South Australia report beverage litter at only 10% by comparison.”
“It was encouraging, however, to see a 21% drop in the volume of glass collected last year and an 8% reduction in paper. These items are easily recycled in kerbside bins or at Waste Transfer Stations and so should never end up as litter.”
Participants can register to take part in Clean Up Australia Day and find a local event at www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au.