As volunteers hit the streets, creeks and parks today for Clean Up Australia Day, Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch has encouraged Queenslanders to do their bit to reduce waste and end the scourge of litter.
“Clean Up Australia Day is a great reminder to Queenslanders that waste is everyone’s responsibility,” Ms Enoch said.
“Last year, more than 140,000 Queenslanders participated in clean-up events across the state, collecting more than 3,500 ute loads of rubbish.
“Today marks the first Clean Up Australia Day since the passing of founder Ian Kiernan AO, who started the nation’s largest community-based environmental event more than three decades ago.
“I am confident that Ian’s legacy will only continue to grow as more and more Queenslanders get involved in this day of action.”
According to the National Litter Index, the amount of litter in Queensland has reduced by around 23% over the past five years.
Minister Enoch said the Palaszczuk Government’s ban on single-use plastic bags and Queensland’s container refund scheme, Containers for Change, were also making a big difference.
“Our Government is committed to tackling plastic pollution, and that is why we are currently developing a plastic pollution reduction plan.
“Our ban on single-use plastic bags, which started last July, has helped reduce the amount of plastic bags used. Now, retailers are reporting a 80% reduction in the use of plastic bags and this means there are less bags going into the environment.
“Since November, when Queensland’s container refund scheme came into effect, more than 250 million containers have been returned and $25 million has been returned to individuals, groups and charities in refunds.
“This scheme has created a financial incentive for Queenslanders to recycle their containers and is helping to reduce litter in our environment.”
Minister Enoch said everyone deserves to live in a clean and safe environment.
“I encourage anyone who sees littering behaviour to report it to the Department of Environment and Science at www.qld.gov.au/litter,” she said.
Minister Enoch said that reducing the impact of waste on the environment is one of the key drivers of Queensland’s draft Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy, which is currently open for public consultation.
“It is critical that we reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, and rubbish that is littered and illegally dumped in our environment.
“Every action, big or small, will make a difference—like participating in local clean-up events.
“I commend the thousands of hard-working volunteers cleaning up their local communities around Queensland today.
“I also encourage everyone to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible – whether it’s at home, or at work.
“This can include simple things like saying ‘no’ to single-use products like straws and balloons, remembering your reusable bags when you go to the shops, or returning your eligible drink containers for a refund at your nearest refund point.”