Clean Up Australia Day is this Sunday (7 March) where the focus in Canberra and the region will be on removing the increased plastic waste created as a direct outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Clean Up Australia Day’s annual rubbish report found plastic waste increased compared to last year while further research indicated a plethora of plastic in 2021.
The findings revealed half of all single items found during clean-ups in 2020 were either plastic or contained plastic. More than 40 per cent of rubbish found within parks was plastic while plastic packaging continued to dominate rubbish counts representing 49.8 per cent of all reported rubbish last year.
Last year, Clean Up Australia’s volunteers removed more than 17,000 ute loads of rubbish with more than 650,000 people giving more than 1.3 million hours of volunteer time.
Clean Up Australia Day in Canberra has always been a popular event that highlights people’s desire to protect the Territory’s natural beauty.
ACT Greens spokesperson for a Circular Economy and Member for Ginninderra Jo Clay said Australia’s waste challenges can’t be solved in one day by urging Canberrans to think more about the amount of waste they produce.
“While the Greens have a vision of a healthy, waste-free world, we understand that incremental change takes time. We are committed to working with communities and within the government to make this vision a reality as soon as possible,” Ms Clay said.
MLA for Brindabella and Greens’ youth spokesperson Johnathan Davis encouraged young people to get involved in cleaning the places they love.
“When so much about climate change and environmental failures feels out of our control, picking up rubbish is such a tangible and truly effective way to help ecosystems thrive,” Mr Davis said.
On the South Coast, Bega Valley Shire Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick said this year’s Clean Up Australia Day would extend beyond one day in a goal to have a litter-free shire.
“With two successive years of tourists having to leave the shire during our busy season, it makes a lot of sense to welcome visitors back to a place that is as clean, tidy and as beautiful as it can be,” Cr Fitzpatrick said.
“While we are still calling on the community to band together in picking up litter on 7 March, we are now in the process of looking beyond this date to keep the momentum going.
“Starting next week, we will launch our Keep the Shire Shining campaign, aiming to address discarded litter and waste through ongoing awareness and education.”
You can find a Clean Up Australia Day site near you by visiting the Clean Up Australia Day website. Once registered, Clean Up Australia will send a free starter kit equipped with everything you need to create a safe, fun and effective clean-up.