Monday, March 08, 2010

cleaning up in lyster

Yesterday was Clean Up Australia Day, I chose to go down to Monbulk Creek (Belgrave Lake Park to Belgrave Hallam Road) to help volunteers there and then went on to Long Pockitt Reserve, a stretch of Parks Victoria land in Selby, to pick up rubbish.

Community, Friends of Groups and Landcare members joined together to help clean up our environment. Without a doubt the most common rubbish found was beverage containers, this again reinforces the urgent need for container deposit legislation. I am certain that if a 10cent deposit refund was in place for our beverage containers we would find many less in our environment, as is the case in South Australia where a container deposit system has been in place for some time.

Alarmingly there were more tyres found this year, eleven in total. Home renovators had dumped wood refuse and roofing and the day’s collection also included the usual mix of cigarette butts, drink containers, paper/cardboard rubbish, styrene and plastic bags all in our environment threatening our water quality and Melbourne’s last viable platypus population.

In 2009 over 600,000 volunteers cleaned up just under 7,000 sites in 2009, and the result was over 8,300 tonnes of rubbish removed from the environment. On Sunday, the Selby CFA joined with over 20 community members to remove 5 bags of rubbish, 8 bags of recyclables, building waste and 11 tyres and our environment is much the better for it.

I continue to be appalled by people who think it is okay to litter our environment, particularly on the scale of car tyres and home renovation waste. It costs local government (our ratepayers) substantial amounts of money to deal with litter, whether it’s on our streets or illegally dumped rubbish.

To see a fundamental shift in the management of waste and landfill, the true costs of waste management should be met by those sectors that are responsible for creating it in the first place. This is the aim of Extended Producer Responsibility, which is a scheme that makes the producer of the packaging is responsible for it from cradle to cradle. The introduction of a mandatory Extended Producer Responsibility scheme will keep products and materials out of the waste stream and reduce their environmental impact. I look forward to the day when producers of the waste are responsible for the waste, perhaps we wont see hundreds having to come out and clean up litter and they can spend their valuable volunteer hours achieving even greater things for our community.

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