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Queensland Needs to Clean Up Its Waterwats, Beaches and Coastline

Media release - Brisbane, 15 February 2012

Ian Kiernan AO, reveals the Queensland 2011 Rubbish Report and calls for action.

It’s official: Queensland needs to clean up its rivers and creeks and take a good look at its waterways and bushland.

The people of Queensland are generally proud of the natural beauty of their state so it comes as a big surprise that over half of the rubbish removed by Clean Up Australia Day volunteers came from waterways, although much of this can be attributed to last year’s devastating floods. The most polluted sites in the state were rivers and creeks with 22% and beaches and coastline with 20% of the total waste surveyed.

Bushland came in with a staggering 167 items per surveyed site – making this area the most densely rubbished in the state.

The 2011 Rubbish Report has highlighted some alarming facts about the state of rubbish in Queensland. Once again cigarette butts took out the number one spot making up 13% of total waste removed. But what is more alarming is the amount of plastic collected, increasing from 30% of surveyed rubbish in 2010 to 34% in 2011.

Ian Kiernan AO, Chairman and Founder of Clean Up Australia, spoke about the findings; “The people of Queensland love to enjoy the great outdoors, spending time on and near your glorious beaches 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 of plastics in the environment when they are not biodegradable and can so easily be captured and recycled.”

“Beverage related items took out 3 of the top 4 (26%) and five of the top ten (34%) 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 Queensland to say enough is enough, and join a winning team on Sunday 4 March.”

Last year an estimated 90,289 volunteers removed over 3,289 tonnes of rubbish across 1,495 registered sites in Queensland. The hard work put in by the volunteers on the day was extremely impressive and exhibited the pride that Queenslanders have in your shared spaces.

Cigarette butts continue to top the list of rubbish items found in Queensland and they have increased significantly from 9% of total waste in 2010 to 13% in 2011. Ian Kiernan encourages Queensland residents: “There are still many lessons to be learnt about how we dispose of our rubbish, the residents and visitors to Queensland 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.”

“I was delighted to learn about new litter laws that came into effect on 1 February and urge the people of Queensland to work with your state government to rid your streets, parks, waterways and beaches of litter.

 “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 Queensland 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