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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

3 March 2006

Motorists No. 1 rubbish dumpers


Motorists are Australia’s worst litterbugs, throwing almost half the nation’s litter on highways and carparks, according to the results of a survey released today.

The Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said the results of the Keep Australia Beautiful National Litter Index – funded by the Australian Government – showed 48 per cent of Australia’s litter was found on highways, roads and in carparks.

“Smokers are the worst offenders,” Senator Campbell said. “Cigarette butts account for almost half of all litter items with South Australia having the lowest proportion of butts (38 per cent) and Victoria the highest (53 per cent).

“Illegal dumping and uncovered loads also add to roadside litter.

“You wouldn’t throw rubbish from your house window onto your front lawn, so why throw rubbish out of your car window onto the roadside or carpark?”

Senator Campbell said KAB surveyed more than 825 sites across Australia.

The National Association Chairman of Keep Australia Beautiful, Don Chambers, said the top five types of litter found were:

“These results are not good news for the health of the environment and our nation,” Mr Chambers said.

“Litter is a symptom of the civil health of the nation. While the stain of urban graffiti alarms the community and leads to demands for tougher penalties – the litter at the bottom of the wall cannot be ignored. Too many people are relying on someone else to clean it up.”

Mr Chambers urged industry to support Keep Australia Beautiful.

“The Australian Government, as well as Cadbury Schweppes, who are funding the Tasmanian section of the research, have set an example we hope others will follow. It is in all our interests to gather objective data about litter and to act on it. We need industry support to continue with this valuable research which should be done nationally at least two times a year.”

Senator Campbell and Mr Chambers issued a challenge to Australians to participate in Clean Up Australia Day this Sunday (5 March) and to take part in programmes such as Tidy Towns, Sustainable Cities and the Clean Beach Challenge.

For more information see www.kab.or.au or for more information about the National Packaging Covenant see www.deh.gov.au/settlements/waste/covenant

Renae Stoikos 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434
Don Chambers 0408 654 209 or Scott Lyall 0419 016 401 (Keep Australia Beautiful)


National Litter Index results

Worst items Worst locations
  1. cigarette butts
  2. miscellaneous paper (including tissues)
  3. miscellaneous plastic
  4. snack bags and confectionery wrappers
  5. metal bottle tops and can pull rings
  6. plastic bottle tops
  7. straws
  8. cigarette packets
  9. other foil
  10. cups/take away containers (paper)
  11. clothing and materials
  12. take away and cups (plastic)
  1. highways (items 28%, volume 48%)
  2. car park (20%, volume 11%)
  3. industrial sites/estates (items 14%, volume 20%)
  4. retail (items 10%, volume 3%)
  5. shopping centre (items 9%, volume 3%)
  6. residential (items 8%, volume 7%)
  7. beach (items 6%, volume 5%)
  8. recreational park (items 6%, volume 2%)
© Commonwealth of Australia