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Western Australia Needs to Act to Clean Up its Beaches and Coastal Regions

Media release - Perth, 7 February 2012

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

It’s official: Western Australia needs to clean up its beaches and bushland.

Western Australia is renowned for long, pristine coastline and spectacular beaches so it comes as a big surprise to find that over half of the rubbish removed by Clean Up Australia Day volunteers in 2011 came from its beaches and bushland. The most polluted sites in the state were beaches and coastal areas with 38% and bushland with 27% of the total waste surveyed.

The 2011 Rubbish Report highlights some alarming facts about the state of rubbish in Western Australia. Glass was a major source of rubbish, doubling in volume from 20% in 2010 to 40% in 2011. More glass beverage bottles were removed than any other rubbish item making up 36% of total waste surveyed. These were followed by plastic bottles at 8%.

Ian Kiernan AO, Chairman and Founder of Clean Up Australia Day, spoke about the findings; “Western Australia has some of our most globally renowned coastline and bushland. It’s 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 glass and plastic bottles, aluminium cans and bottle tops, as four of the Top Ten rubbish items, when a viable solution that will increase recycling rates from an average of 35% to over 75% is staring us in the face.”

“These beverage containers have a value – but until we have an incentive such as a container refund scheme they will continue to be considered rubbish.”

In 2011 beverage containers and their tops represented 51% of all rubbish surveyed.

“I urge all West Australians to say enough is enough, and join a winning team on Sunday 4 March to Clean Up Australia.”

Last year an estimated 41,596 volunteers removed around 1,283 tonnes of rubbish across 583 registered sites across the state. The hard work put in by the volunteers during the event was extremely impressive and exhibited the pride that West Australians have in the cleanliness of their shared spaces.

While beverage related items represented over half of the rubbish surveyed, Western Australia scored the lowest percentage of cigarette butts across the nation. Ian Kiernan applauded West Australians; “While there are still some lessons to be learnt with how we dispose of our rubbish, the residents and visitors to Western Australia seem to be more responsible in disposing their cigarette butts than elsewhere across the rest of the country.”

“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 Western Australia 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.