It seems that a little litter can go a long way to polluting Fraser Coast towns, beaches and countryside. A thin layer of litter across the region is unsightly for residents and tourists, and represents a real threat to our environment.
Fraser Coast Environment Portfolio Councillor, David Lewis said litter has far-reaching costs and consequences for the region, which relies heavily on the natural beauty and abundant wildlife that draws tourists from around the world.
“We all know it’s right to put our rubbish in the bin or take it to waste facilities,” he said. “We need to find ways to reduce the amount of waste generated and to make sure that our rubbish is always disposed of carefully.”
“Remote beach or bush locations are not the place to leave rubbish that contaminates the natural environments and poses a direct threat to natural habitats, wildlife and marine creatures,” said Cr Lewis.
“There is no fee charged for taking green waste to Fraser Coast waste management facilities and I strongly urge residents to take advantage of this service. Garden waste is a significant contributor to the spread of weeds and exotic plants in bushland and beaches, degrading the value of these areas for wildlife and recreation.”
Cr Lewis said we can all be more prepared when enjoying outdoor activities from picnics to fishing, 4WDing to camping to do everything possible to stop rubbish becoming litter. “We all know that it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “Sometimes it is necessary to think ahead and make sure that we always take rubbish with us, particularly when we go to places where bins are not provided.”
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 the waste transfer stations in the region, the Fraser Coast Regional Council, and therefore ratepayers, have to meet the costs of gutter and pavement cleaning, cleaning out stormwater drains, removing weed infestations resulting from dumped green waste and investigating and prosecuting cases of illegal dumping. This 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.