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Litter continues to be a dirty word

Litter continues to be a problem for the Tasmanian community, according to the Keep Australia Beautiful National Litter Index.

They show that once again cigarette butts are the most commonly littered item across the state, followed by paper.

In comparison to previous years, the amount of litter on Tasmanian streets and highways, along beaches and in shopping centres has increased both by the number of items counted and by the volume estimate.

The KAB index collects baseline data on litter by type, by location and by volume across 983 sites across Australia on twice yearly basis. In Tasmania, data is collected across 76 sites.

The national audit for 2006/07 identified plastic litter such as take away food containers and utensils, soft drink beverage containers, plastic shopping bags and plastic bottle tops as the most voluminous material type surveyed.

Plastic was also one of the most common materials in the Dirty Dozen list.

New litter legislation currently before State Parliament includes new offences and penalties and a provision for the public to report littering offences.

National Litter Index information provides an important snapshot of what litter is found where.

Coupled with information collected from the public, the data will help to focus educational and enforcement activities in known "litter hotspots".

Tasmanian workers have been urged to play a part in managing litter by using portable ashtrays and placing food scraps and waste packaging in bins.

Keep Australia Beautiful Week next week is also a good time to remind people about the importance of recovering resources such as unwanted mobile phones.

Service Tasmania shops in Hobart and Launceston provide receptacles for the return of unwanted mobile phones which will be sent for recycling through the MobileMuster program.