New South Wales has been identified as one of Australia’s messiest states. According to the National Litter Index, NSW had 10.24L of rubbish per thousand square kilometres in 2014 – the most in the country.
Queensland is the worst offender when it comes to rubbish items per thousand square kilometres, topping the list with 72. Cigarette butts account for 46 per cent of all litter in Australia, and each butt takes one to five years to decompose.
The statistics have prompted significant changes to be made in waste disposal and the littering culture.
Last Wednesday’s Earth Day raised awareness for the importance of recycling and the long-term preservations of the environment. Materials, such as glass bottles, can take up to a million years to decompose, raising serious concerns for the state of Australia’s environmental condition.
The NSW Government a campaign to encourage people to report illegal rubbish dumping.
The Hey Tosser campaign provides an online and mobile platform to name and shame litterers. The culprit’s licence plate, car model and other supporting information is sent to the Environmental Protection Authority.
Fines of $250 and above apply if found guilty of being a ‘tosser’. The campaign highlights the dangers of discarding cigarette butts, which cause 1200 grass fires a year in NSW alone.
Similar to the speeding: no one thinks big of you ad featuring the infamous pinky wave, the NSW Government hopes embarassment will be a deterrent.
The launch saw 85 fines issued in the first week, all of which were uncontested. Offenders can contest the payment in court, and the accuser must be prepared to be a witness.