Rural Highways are down in the dumps

31 December 2014



Negligent Australians are choking our national transport arteries with new research revealing our rural highways have become a dumping ground for rubbish.

Nationally, Australians throw 30.5 items of litter out of the car for every 1000 square metres of highway, with the worst offenders being plastics, cigarette butts, paper and glass.

With the Christmas-New Year holiday season a popular time for travelling around the country, Keep Australia Beautiful Chief Executive Officer Peter McLean is urging Australians to treat their rural highways like their own backyards.

“People probably adopt an out of sight out of mind view to rural highways, compared to more high profile sites like beaches,’’ Mr McLean said.

“But unless people make a deliberate effort, we can expect the amount of litter across the country to reach an all-time peak during the holiday period.

“The fact is that littering is public vandalism no matter where or how much is dropped. It doesn’t land on the roadside by magic. It has to be deliberately and wilfully thrown from a vehicle.’’

The Keep Australia Beautiful Rural Highway Litter Index 2013-2014 revealed the national rate for littering on country roads is only a marginal (1.4 %) improvement on the previous year, indicating motorists aren’t embracing the anti-litter message.

Queensland travellers were the dirtiest, dumping 53.2 items per 1000m2 of rural highways last year, up from 49.6 the previous year.

At the other end of the spectrum, Victorians dropped 5.7 items per 1000m2 though this was up on their 2012-2013 rate of 3.9 items.

Overall, the National Litter Index revealed four out of seven states and territories increased their littering rate over the past year.

“People need to get into a habit of putting their litter in a reused shopping bag in their car and throwing it in a bin when they get to the next rest stop or town,’’ Mr McLean said

“All year we implore the community to Keep Australia Beautiful, so please apply those anti-littering messages now and give the country a great start to the New Year,’’ Mr McLean said.

He said the seriousness of littering was often underestimated.

“We don’t tolerate graffiti but at least we can clean that up quickly. Some forms of litter will last hundreds of years. In that sense, it’s environmental vandalism,’’ Mr McLean said.

highways table NLI


Andrew Trewin Sequel Communications – 0403 090 915/07 32518111
Fran Metcalf Sequel Communications – 0417 627 867/ 07 32518111

Comments are closed.