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Post festive season underwater clean up

Tasmanians are being urged to make litter reduction a top priority in 2009 as divers collect bags of rubbish during a weekend clean-up around Hobart's docks.

The sub marine litter collection was performed by the Tasmanian Scuba Diving Club, with support from the Dive Shop in Hobart and Veolia.

The dive followed on from a similar underwater clean-up in September last year which collected hundreds of kilograms of rubbish including car tyres, street signs, car batteries and many bottles and cans.

Acting General Manager of the Environment Division John Mollison said that the New Year is a great time for the public to consider making better choices when it comes to disposing of their waste responsibly and so preventing it from becoming litter.

"Over the past few weeks thousands of Tasmanians and visitors have enjoyed celebrations in the Salamanca and Constitution Dock areas but perhaps don't relaise that these festivities often come at a cost in terms of increased litter on the streets," he said.

"The docks are a popular location over summer and they represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to litter. Only a small percentage of the rubbish is visible. The majority remains unseen under the water surface."

"Clean-ups are of enormous benefit and the divers’ interest and efforts are to be applauded."

However, Mr Mollison said that preventing litter is the preferred option and clean-up events should be the last resort.

"Clean-ups are a useful method to help gauge litter trends and are valuable in raising public awareness of the extent and impacts of littering," he said.

"But it is a year-round responsibility for all of us to stop and think about the waste we create and often carelessly discard. We need to consider where those items may end up and their possible effects."

Members of the public can report a littering offence, especially littering from motor vehicles, via the litter hotline number on 1300 135 513 or by visiting www.environment.tas.gov.au/litter to report littering online.