Environment Minister David Templeman joined thousands of Western Australians this morning by getting his hands dirty in the name of cleaning up the community.
Mr Templeman today joined volunteers to collect rubbish in his electorate of Mandurah.
“In a perfect world we would all treat our environment with respect and there would be no need for Clean Up Australia Day,” he said.
“But the reality is that plastic and cigarette butts and other types of litter are finding their way into our rivers and parks and on to our beaches and roadsides at an alarming rate.
“Australians are among the highest producers of waste per person and the amount of litter we produce is increasing.
“With climate change looming as the most important issue of our times, we cannot afford to waste resources.
“For example, the production of one aluminium can from virgin resources produces more than 14 times its own weight in greenhouse emissions.
“In WA, we spend more than $16million every year cleaning up litter and this is money that can be better spent elsewhere.”
The Minister said the Carpenter Government was determined to tackle the litter problem.
“Our Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Bill allows us to look at extended producer responsibility schemes, where producers of consumer goods would become responsible for them for the life of the product,” he said.
“We have further legislative changes under way to overhaul the Litter Act. The proposed changes will review the fines for littering and create a new, more serious offence of illegal dumping.
“And we are continuing to investigate the adoption of a deposit scheme for drink bottles and cans as a way to increase recycling and reduce litter. This will be a key item for discussion at the meeting of environment ministers next month.
“It’s also up to individuals to be more responsible when it comes to disposing of rubbish. Think more carefully about what you consume, how you dispose of it and how you can recycle.”
Mr Templeman said people could join the growing army of more than 2,100 voluntary litter reporters who could dob in a litter bug.
In 2006-07, almost 2,500 fines were issued as a result of notifications from litter reporters.
“With these vigilant volunteers located throughout the State, rest assured that if you litter, you will be caught and fined,” the Minister said.
“I applaud those volunteers and all the people who were out in force this morning doing their bit for their community and their environment.
“It’s up to all of us to act now for the future and ensure we respect and protect our environment for generations to come.”
To register to become a litter reporter, visit http://www.kabc.wa.gov.au or call the Litter Reporter Program line on 6467 5129.
Minister's office - 9220 5050