Reducing and preventing littering and dumping is everyone’s responsibility: governments, non-government organisations, businesses, community and individuals.
The Tasmanian Government is working to address littering.
EPA Tasmania has the responsibility for implementation of the Litter Act 2007 which:
- prohibits the deposit of litter in the environment
- regulates the distribution of materials that may become litter
- protects and enhance the quality of the natural and urban Tasmanian environments.
The litter laws also provide a legal basis for the
Litter Hotline and online reporting, where littering from a motor vehicle or vessel can be reported.
The online web application Report Rubbish can be used to report an area that needs to be cleaned up.
It is intended that, where possible, clean-ups should be undertaken by people on Community Correction Orders. These reporting mechanisms are set up as part of the Government's drive to 'crack down' on littering and illegal dumping.
EPA Tasmania has developed teaching materials on litter, for primary school teachers.
The Tasmanian Government has also committed to developing a
Container Refund Scheme for Tasmania in 2022, which should markedly reduce beverage container litter.
Local government has a major role in the management of litter. They install and service stormwater litter traps, litter bins, cigarette butt bins, assist with Clean Up Australia Day, and get involved with
Keep Australia Beautiful (KAB). Many also conduct their own anti-litter campaigns.
Rethink Waste is a statewide initiative, where local councils have joined together to encourage the community to reduce waste. They are active in promoting litter reduction.
Non-Government Organisations (NGOs)
Keep Australia Beautiful, operating in every state and territory, is recognised as Australia’s independent litter prevention leader, and advocates for a litter-free and sustainable Australia.
KAB has almost 50 years of experience in engaging Australians to care for their local environments, and their awards include Tidy Towns, Clean Beaches and Sustainable Cities. They support Eco-Schools and the Adopt a Patch programs. KAB conducted the annual National Litter Index, which assists states and territories to assess their progress towards a less-littered environment.
Clean Up Australia has been operating since 1989, initiated by Ian Kiernan, who was an ‘average Australian bloke’ with the idea to make a difference to his own community. Clean Up Australia Day is Australia’s largest community-based environmental event. But not only do people all over Australia pick up litter on that first Sunday in March, there are clean up days hosted by schools, businesses, councils, communities and there is even Clean Up the World!
Adopt A Patch program hosted by KAB encourages businesses and community members to improve patches of land in their local community.
Many communities play an active role in reducing litter. Such communities are often rewarded for their efforts in reducing litter, via the state and national Keep Australia Beautiful awards.
Beach Litter from South West Tasmania
Photo: Frank Toman
In Tasmania, the
Great South West Wilderness Cleanup has been conducted since 2006: in the last cleanup, 112,117 pieces of rubbish were retrieved over 8 days by a team of around 24 people. Volunteers travel to remote south west Tasmania by fishing boat, and generous skippers bring waste to Hobart to be properly disposed of. The cleanup is sponsored by Patagonia and many local Tasmanian sponsors.
Especially with the advent and use of social media, there has been a burgeoning of community-based litter cleanups, usually on beaches, around Australia. For example, the
Northern Beaches Clean Up Crew in Sydney meets on the last Sunday of every month, to clean up various beaches.
Seaside Scavenge, which also began in Sydney, is an initiative whereby ten items of litter from waterways can be traded with one token: two tokens can be swapped for an item of donated clothing. Music, workshops and talks are also provided, to make the scavenge days fun. To date, more than 5,000 people have participated in the Seaside Scavenge.