Congratulations to Ian Kiernan on the 20th ‘Clean Up Australia Day’, with 7,084 sites registered in 2010. Congratulations also to Carmel Wallace for her stunning works (exhibited at 101 Collins Street, Melbourne) made from litter collected from the beach at Discovery Bay.
During the 2008-09 year, the Victorian EPA issued 19,465 litter infringement notices, around 90% involving cigarette butts tossed from vehicles, earning a $234 fine.
In March 2010, members of Transition Town Port Phillip collected and surveyed litter from St Kilda West Beach. Cigarette butts made up 39% of 816 items collected. Other common items were lolly wrappers and lolly sticks, bottle tops, cellophane and polystyrene packaging. Fifty-two pieces of broken (bottle) glass was found partially buried in the sand.
The good news was that very few plastic 6 pack holders (known to cause penguin deaths) were found. Has industry practices, government action, or public behaviour caused this improvement? Or perhaps a combination of these? This would make an interesting case study. One thing is for sure, it wouldn’t have happened without ordinary people taking the time to show they care for their local environment.