Hon Stephen Dawson MLC

Hon Stephen Dawson MLC

Minister for Emergency Services; Innovation and the Digital Economy; Medical Research; Volunteering

    Plastic bag litter has fallen in latest rubbish index report

    26/09/2019 7:30 AM
    • National Litter Index Report indicates a drop in the number of items littered in WA
    • Report appears to show plastic bag litter has fallen nearly 30 per cent
    • Cigarette butts and packaging continue to be the most littered items

    The amount of plastic bag litter appears to have fallen 29.9 per cent in the latest National Litter Index Report.


    The drop follows the introduction of the McGowan Labor Government's lightweight plastic bag ban in July last year.


    The 2018/19 Keep Australia Beautiful's National Litter Index indicates that overall the volume and number of items littered in Western Australia has fallen by 15.7 per cent and 8.5 per cent respectively.


    The report is an annual measure of litter types and volumes at locations across Australia.


    There were also reductions across glass litter with an 18.8 per cent decrease and paper litter falling by 7.1 per cent.


    The latest index also found less litter at West Australian beaches with a 58.6 per cent drop, retail precincts falling 46.9 per cent, shopping centres down 9.3 per cent, major roads and highways dropping 8.2 per cent and recreational parks down 1.5 per cent compared to the previous report.


    Higher levels of litter were counted on residential streets rising 4.7 per cent, industrial precincts 3.5 per cent and at car parks increasing by more than 27 per cent. 


    The report also shows that cigarette butts and cigarette packaging continue to be the most littered item and make up almost one third of litter.


    To raise awareness of this major problem, Keep Australia Beautiful WA has launched a campaign highlighting the effects of cigarette butts on the environment and reminded smokers they face fines of up to $500 for littering cigarette butts.


    To call out litterers and to help make a difference, sign up to become a Litter Reporter here: https://www.kabc.wa.gov.au/report-littering


    For more information on general waste in WA and how you can make a difference, visit https://ownyourimpact.com.au/


    Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:


    "The report shows a drop of almost 30 per cent in the amount of lightweight plastic bags being littered since the single-use plastic bag ban.


    "This is a great result and indicates the difference small changes can make to our environment.


    "Thank you to the businesses and consumers that have made the change away from lightweight plastic bags, and I hope that next year's report will show an even bigger decrease.


    "To see a reduction in litter across so many other categories and locations is welcomed, but there is still work to be done.


    "It is never ok to litter your cigarette butts. There is a serious risk of bushfire caused by disposing of lit cigarettes as well as being harmful to our wildlife. If people get caught littering their cigarette butts, they will be hit with a $500 fine.


    "I also encourage those who want to help reduce littering to register to become a Litter Reporter, to help us catch those doing the wrong thing."


    Minister's office - 6552 5800