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New South Wales Needs to Clean Up its Beaches and Coastline

Media release - Albury, 13 February 2012

It’s official: New South Wales needs to clean up beaches and coastline and take a good look at its rivers and creeks.

The people of NSW are generally proud of the natural beauty of their state so it comes as a big surprise that over half of the rubbish removed from New South Wales by Clean Up Australia Day volunteers came from its beaches and coastline. The most polluted sites in the state were beaches and coastline with 39% and rivers and creeks with 20% of the total waste surveyed.

The 2011 Rubbish Report has highlighted some alarming facts about the state of rubbish in New South Wales. Once again cigarette butts took out the number one spot making up 33% of total waste removed. But what is more alarming is the amount of plastic collected, although it has decreased from 37% of surveyed rubbish in 2010 to 26% in 2011, it is still a major problem.

Ian Kiernan AO, Chairman and Founder of Clean Up Australia, spoke about the findings; “The people of NSW love to enjoy the great outdoors, spending time on our wonderful beaches and in coastal areas and waterways. It is such a shame to see these spaces fall victim to littering creating an eyesore for humans and endangering wildlife.”

“It is also extremely worrying to see the continued high incidence in the prevalence of plastics in the environment when they are not biodegradable and can so easily be captured and recycled.”

“Beverage related items took out 4 of the top 5 (30%) and six of the top ten (33%) most common rubbish items in this state in 2011. This is a disgrace when a viable solution, such as a container refund scheme that will turn these beverage containers from rubbish into a resource, is staring us in the face.”

“I urge the people of NSW to say enough is enough, and join a winning team on Sunday 4 March.”

Last year an estimated 241,990 volunteers removed over 6,316 tonnes of rubbish across 2,871 registered sites in New South Wales. The hard work put in by the volunteers on the day was extremely impressive and exhibited the pride that the NSW people have in their shared spaces.

Cigarette butts continue to top the list of rubbish items found in NSW and they have increased significantly from 17% of total waste in 2010 to 33% in 2011. Ian Kiernan encourages NSW residents: “There are still many lessons to be learnt about how we dispose of our rubbish, the residents and visitors to NSW need to be more responsible about disposing their cigarette butts. It really is a disgrace that the incidence of cigarette butts is on the increase.”

 “Our 2011 Rubbish Report highlights the amazing achievement of all our Clean Up Australia Day volunteers. They do a fantastic job of cleaning up their own local areas. We want every person in NSW to register for the Clean Up effort and show the rest of the nation how they can lead by example.”

“Over the last 22 years an estimated 237,500 tonnes of rubbish have been removed from our environment on Clean Up Australia Day. But with every Australian still producing approximately 2 tonnes of garbage a year, we still have a long way to go. We are a resilient nation and through community effort we can preserve our landscapes and oceans. It is vital that volunteers continue their great effort by joining the team and registering to clean up.”

WHAT:  Australia’s largest community participation event. Get a group together and register your chosen Clean Up Site online.
WHEN: Clean Up Australia Day – Sunday 4 March; Business Clean Up Day – Tuesday 28 February; Schools Clean Up Day – Friday 2 March
WHERE: Your local park, waterway, school, beach or street.
WHO: Everyone is welcome – friends, family, kids, community groups, work colleagues or anyone else.
HOW: Register for Clean Up Australia Day now at www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au or call 1800 CUA DAY for more information.


For any further media information or an interview, please contact Tracey Wigg, Gaia Communications on 0419 141 266 Email: tawigg@bigpond.com