Council on positive environmental track

Highlights

  • 2018 State of the Environment Report shows Council has achieved a 47% reduction in greenhouse gas emission and is on target for a 50% reduction by 2020.
  • Cairns’s landfill diversion rate (59%) continues to be well above the State average (45%).
  • Ongoing roll out of rooftop solar to Council buildings boosted solar power generation to 1 megawatt, or enough to power 276 homes, saving ratepayers $360,000.
  • Council’s System Leakage Detection Program identified 464 leaks, resulting in a saving of 398 megalitres of water per annum – equivalent to a water demand of 1473 new homes.
  • Council provided nearly 15,000 trees for revegetation projects.
  • Council’s Waste Reduction and Recycling Strategy will move Cairns towards a future where landfills are the last option.

Council remains on track to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 according to the State of the Environment (SoE) Report released today.

The SoE Report provides a snapshot of Council’s progress towards its goals for more sustainable operations, including an increased use of rooftop solar; a new plan to tackle widespread littering and illegal dumping; removing single-use plastics in its operations; and adopting a new Waste Reduction and Recycling Strategy.

Mayor Bob Manning said the report showed Council had made steady progress in meeting its environmental and sustainability goals while introducing new initiatives in 2017/18.

“We remain steadfast in our commitment to reducing our impact on the environment and supporting residents and businesses to do the same through the various programs and initiatives outlined in the report,” Cr Manning said.

The SoE Report highlights the continued reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, which were down by 47% compared to 2007/08 levels, well on the way to the target of a 50% reduction by 2020.

The ongoing roll out of rooftop solar to Council buildings boosted solar power generation to 1 megawatt, or enough to power 276 homes, saving ratepayers $360,000 for the financial year.

Waste collected by Council, mainly from kerbside pick-up, fell 2% to 95,953 tonne over the reporting period, maintaining a downtrend. Nearly 59% of this waste was recycled or repurposed, diverting it from landfill, well above the Queensland average of 45%.

“While Cairns has consistently been a state leader in landfill diversion rates the new Waste Reduction and Recycling Strategy will move Cairns towards a future where landfills are the last option,” Cr Manning said.

In April 2018, Council resolved to remove single-use plastics from its operations in support of home-grown campaigns, Straw No More and The Last Straw on the Great Barrier Reef.

Council also successfully called on the Local Government Association Queensland to produce a state-wide program to phase out single-use plastics and embarked on initiatives that support residents and local businesses in moving away from their use.

Council’s System Leakage Detection Program identified 464 leaks. The resulting repair works have saved 398 megalitres of water per annum, equivalent to the water demand of 1473 new homes.

Residents were encouraged to reduce their own carbon footprint trough the annual Ride 2 Work Day and the Get Out Get Active program, which supported 1224 women and girls to improve their participation in cycling and walking.

Council also delivered water, waste and disaster resilience education programs to 9,869 people, provided nearly 15,000 trees for revegetation projects and supported 26 community-led Great Northern Clean Ups.

The full 2018 State of the Environment report can be viewed on Council’s website.

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