Clean Up Australia Day volunteers yesterday found that a significant amount of the estimated 8300 tonnes of rubbish removed from beaches, waterways, parks and bushland across Australia could have been recycled.
The amount of plastic rubbish, particularly recyclable drink bottles and plastic bags, continues to dominate the types of rubbish collected.
Clean Up Australia Chairman Ian Kiernan AO said volunteers have again demonstrated extraordinary spirit to take action to help their communities and the environment.
Organisers estimate volunteer participation increased by 15 per cent this year when compared with 2008, with an estimated 630,000 volunteers across the country taking part in Clean Up Australia Day. “Australians have again today demonstrated what it means to be Australian – when things get tough, we pitch in and help each other. We volunteer our time because we care about our country and our mates.”
Mr Kiernan said reports from volunteers of increased amounts of plastic pollution at the country’s 6910 registered Clean Up sites demonstrates the urgent need for a national action plan for recycling.
“Too many years have now passed when the growing problem of recyclable rubbish such as plastic bottles has been talked about but no further action has happened. There is a clear need for, and support for, a national refund scheme for drink bottles and cans and also national action to halt the destruction plastic bags cause in the natural environment,” Mr Kiernan said.
88 per cent of Australians support the introduction of a 10-cent bottle refund scheme.