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The Litter Cycle is gaining speed

This Sunday is Cleanup Australia Day. Once again the community will rally together and rummage their way through reserves, by roadsides and in parks and scour our beaches. The place will look terrific once again and we can all take off our gloves, wipe our hands and say "Job well done" However the Canberra long weekend approaches and Easter is just a few weeks away and with them come the holiday makers; so we can expect to see a reappearance of the fast food containers, bottles and can to return to the road sides, the empty bait bags to the foreshores and the dirty nappies, beer bottles and cigarette packs to our reserves along with the dumped green garbage bags from holiday makers not willing to find a park bin to place their weekend garbage before they head home again. Sadly, while the spike in the volume of rubbish can tied to holiday periods our own locals are equally remiss in how they treat their own backyard and dumping in the bush or throwing rubbish out a car window is still a much enjoyed activity judging by the fact that rubbish still accumulates over the non-tourism times. Year in, year out, the litter cycle continues. Ian Kiernan saw it many years ago and decided that an education campaign was needed and from that came the Clean Up Australia Day.However all of those children have now grown and many have forgotten the blanket advertising and many more have failed to pass on their once held passion for "Putting it in the Bin" to their children. The CSIRO estimates that around 8 million metric tonnes go into the oceans each year which is equivalent to 16 shopping bags full of plastic for every metre of coastline (excluding Antarctica) and that by 2025 we will be putting enough plastic in the ocean to cover 5% of the earth’s entire surface in cling film each year. A third of this will likely come from China, and 10% from Indonesia. According to the CSIRO data all but one of the top 20 worst offenders are developing nations, largely due to fast-growing economies but poor waste management systems. Source

Above: Plastic waste washed up on a beach in Haiti. Image: Timothy Townsend

#Opinion #Weekly

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