Litter – according to Charlie

LitterThe question I often ask myself is why do people litter? Why? Is it too hard to put your rubbish in a bin within 10 metres? Do people think that “one piece of rubbish won’t hurt that bird over there,” or “this tiny lolly wrapper can’t kill a pelican, KAB must be out of their tree!” Clearly some people do think this. Or they don’t think at all.

In Victoria, and all over the world, EVERY piece of litter damages the environment. Along with that, not many people actually realise that it is against an environmental law to litter in Australia. I guess if I asked an adult who I had never met before to tell me what were a few laws he/she knew and that were important to him/her, I don’t think “not to litter would be one of them.” Unfortunately it is often overlooked. Simply overlooking a law like that, kills millions of animals every year.

And it isn’t just the animals paying the price. Litter costs heaps too.

On average, Victoria spends around $43.5 million cleaning up rubbish each year – almost $200,000 each day! Imagine the possibilities of having even half that money to spend on other important things our state needs. But that’s not the scariest thing, in Victoria, our littering problem is nearly half as bad as some other states. Victoria rates as the least littered state in the National Litter Index.

A study over in the UK done by a group called ESE Direct claims that  90% of the UK say that they would litter less and recycle more if it we’re made easier. Considering the energy and cost savings which can be made from recycling materials rather than producing from raw materials, a little money spent on public bins can go a long way and can also help to protect the environment.

Right now, we do have a lot of bins. In Melbourne there are almost 3,000 public bins, many of which have butt out plates. That’s 83 bins for every kilometre squared. But are we not using them well enough? The infrastructure in Victoria is strong, enforcement is here; maybe we need more education? Or is it just the fact that the 23 or so million people in Australia are just too lazy? We are left to wonder.

Charlie Roache, 13, is the Victorian representative on The LITTLE Committee.


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