News

Litterbugs are getting trashed

By Riverine Herald

PARKS Victoria rangers are encouraged by findings that two-thirds of people would report a litterer.

The survey of 1000 people revealed that 69 per cent would report seeing someone littering in a national park, and comes as individuals, businesses and schools make plans to participate in Clean Up Australia Day.

Littering and rubbish dumping are ongoing challenges for Parks Victoria rangers, who care for 4.1 million hectares of the state and 70 per cent of the coastline.

The process of removing rubbish costs Parks Victoria about $1 million each year and diverts Park rangers’ time away from managing and improving the state’s parks and reserves.

This impacts the maintenance of facilities and implementation of conservation programs that protect plants, animals and historical and cultural sites.

‘‘Unfortunately, each year our Park rangers have to clean up tonnes of rubbish that is illegally dumped by people,’’ Parks Victoria north region director Daniel McLaughlin said.

‘‘This rubbish is harmful to the environment, plants and animals, and is unsightly and potentially hazardous for visitors.’’

Rubbish dumping is also destructive to the environment and can be hazardous to humans and wildlife. Waste makes it into waterways through run-off, garden clippings spread invasive weeds, and animals and birds can ingest discarded waste material.

With more people out-and about in the warmer weather and longer daylight hours, Park rangers hope that the survey findings translate into more reports from the community.

‘‘While some people may feel unsure or uncomfortable about reporting a litterer, this survey shows that the majority would act to help keep Victoria’s natural places clean and healthy,’’ Mr McLaughlin said

Although new surveillance and identification techniques are being employed by Parks Victoria to identify rubbish dumpers, park visitors and neighbours remain an important source of information and deterrence.

Penalties for people caught littering or dumping rubbish can include fines and prosecution resulting in convictions and even possible imprisonment.

‘‘Park rangers will pursue litterers and rubbish dumpers, and we encourage members of the public to continue to report people doing the wrong thing,’’ Mr McLaughlin said.

Anyone witnessing rubbish dumping or littering in a park can call Parks Victoria on 131963 or the EPA Litter line 1300 372 842.

The EPA Report Litter app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play.