It seems that a little litter can go a long way to polluting towns, beaches and countryside in the Bundaberg region. A thin layer of litter across the region is unsightly for residents and tourists, and represents a real threat to our environment.
Bundaberg Regional Council Mayor Jack Dempsey said occurrences of littering and illegal dumping were an unfortunate reality throughout the region.
“These thoughtless acts are not only damaging to our environment but are also eroding the great lifestyle we enjoy here in the Bundaberg region,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“Some of our best assets are the unique natural areas, welcoming parks and pristine waterways where littering and illegal dumping is occurring. By leaving rubbish in these areas we are threatening the future of our natural environment and detracting from the visual amenity of the region.”
Mayor Dempsey urged residents to make some changes and to do everything possible to stop rubbish becoming litter.
“Starting with reducing the amount of waste we generate individually and as a community, the next step is to make sure that our rubbish is always disposed of carefully,” he said. “We all know that it’s the right thing to do.”
“Sometimes it is necessary to think ahead and make sure that all of our rubbish is placed in bins or disposed of at the designated waste facilities.”
A litter survey conducted in 2016 by researchers Scott Wilson and Krista Verlis from the Department of Environmental Sciences at Macquarie University showed that most litter items found in recreational parks, major non-urban roads, beaches and foreshores, shopping centres and school frontages were small in size (<100 mL) and included mainly cigarette butts, chewing gum and fragments of paper or cardboard.
Aside from the costs associated with waste management, such as garbage collection and managing waste facilities throughout the region, the clean-up of roadside litter costs Bundaberg Regional Council, and therefore ratepayers, $43,000. Council staff also ensure the more than 300 parks and gardens within the region remain free from litter and an officer is tasked full-time with the investigation and prosecution of cases of illegal dumping.
All of this translates to a significant budget commitment by Council to control instances of litter and illegal dumping and is in addition to the immeasurable costs to wildlife, our parks, beaches and bushland areas, and to the local tourism industry.
Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection, and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef said it was great to see councils and community organisations working together to develop programs to address littering in Queensland.
“We are pleased to contribute $100,000 to the Burnett Mary Regional Group to support innovative ways to tackle littering, which is a perennial problem with far reaching impacts,” Dr Miles said.
“There are many hazards associated with litter, resulting in unnecessary financial burden on communities. It is a total eyesore to see plastic bags, cigarette butts, drink containers, hazardous material and other wastes tainting our environment and causing harm to our wildlife because they have been discarded thoughtlessly.”
“Our government is committed to protecting the environment from litter, which is why we are preparing to ban light-weight single-use plastic shopping bags and introduce a Container Refund Scheme.
“Future generations can benefit tremendously, from our combined effort and a cleaner Queensland.”
The Taking the Lead on Litter! Project is supported by the Queensland Government’s Litter and Illegal Dumping Community and Industry Partnerships Program.
For more information about the BMRG’s Taking the Lead on Litter project, please contact Jacinta Jowett, Project Coordinator on (07) 4181 2999.