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The Australian Capital Territory needs to ACT to clean up bushland

Media Release - Canberra, 3 February 2012

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

It’s official: the Australian Capital Territory has reported the most rubbished bushland in Australia.

The ACT has some of Australia’s most magnificent bushland areas so it comes as a big surprise to find that nearly two thirds of the rubbish removed by Clean Up Australia Day volunteers in 2011 came from from bushland sites. The most polluted sites in the territory were public bushland with 67% and parks with 19% of the total waste in the ACT. In addition to this the average number of items collected from each bushland site increased from 172 in 2010 to 444 in 2011.

The 2011 Rubbish Report has highlighted some alarming facts about the state of rubbish in the ACT. Once again cigarette butts were the most removed single item of surveyed waste comprising 10% of total. However, plastics are also on the increase representing 35% of the total waste reported, up by 21% from 2010.

Ian Kiernan AO, Chairman and Founder of Clean Up Australia Day, spoke about the findings; “The ACT has some of Australia’s most magnificent bushland and parks. It is such a shame to see them fall victim to rubbishing creating an eyesore for humans and endangering wildlife.”

“It is also extremely worrying to see plastic making up such a large percentage of the waste collected when most of it can be recycled. It frustrates me that chip and confectionery wrappers, bags, bottles and their caps and plastic packaging continue to invade our environment.”

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

Last year an estimated 8,272 volunteers removed around 264 tonnes of rubbish across 120 registered sites across the Territory. The hard work put in by the volunteers on the day was extremely impressive and exhibited the pride that residents have in the cleanliness of their local environment.

“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 the ACT to register for the Clean Up effort and show the rest of the nation how you can lead by example.”

Over the last 21 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