ACT government spends more than $1.4m cleaning up litter from the roadside
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ACT government spends more than $1.4m cleaning up litter from the roadside

Littering is illegal, and it costs taxpayers millions each year clean it up. That's the simple message from the ACT government and surrounding councils this holiday season.

In the past financial year, the ACT government spent more than $1.4 million removing litter from roadsides. From July 1, more than half a million dollars has been spent removing roadside litter.

Roadside litter is a growing problem.

Roadside litter is a growing problem.Credit:Sylvia Liber

A Transport Canberra and City Services spokesman said hotspot areas on the roadside are the Monaro Highway, Flemington Road, Barton Highway, Majura Parkway and parts of the Gungahlin Drive extension.

"Beverage containers represent a large volume of litter in the ACT," the spokesman said.

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Roadside rubbish is an issue.

Roadside rubbish is an issue.Credit:Adam McLean

"A container deposit scheme in 2018 will reduce litter by providing a 10 cent refund for the recycling of eligible beverage containers."

One of the causes of roadside litter in the ACT was motorists not covering their loads.

"On the spot fines of $500 for an individual or $2500 for corporations can apply for unsecured loads," the spokesman said.

"As well as not risking a fine, covering your load helps to prevent hazards to fellow motorists, such as materials blowing across roadways. It also assists in keeping our city tidy and prevents dust, soil, weeds and litter escaping and polluting our environment."

Litter is not just an eyesore, it also delays the mowing program.

"Officers are having to spend considerable time picking up rubbish and material before they can mow," the spokesman said.

Just across the border in Queanbeyan, the route to the south coast along the Kings Highway is highly littered, a Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council spokesman said.

"The litter includes beverage containers, takeaway containers and other items including larger household items that have been dumped on the roadside," the spokesman said.

"A hot spot near Queanbeyan is at the top of Bungendore Hill which is usually littered with takeaway containers and packaging."

There are six takeaway food outlets at the base of the Bungendore Hill in Queanbeyan.

Roadside litter costs the council around $170,000 per year to clean up. The council promotes the NSW government's Hey Tosser program, with community members encouraged to report people who litter from their vehicles to the Environment Protection Authority via an app.

In 2015, the first year of the Hey Tosser program, almost 10,000 people registered to report people littering from vehicles. About 8000 fines have been issued by the EPA in NSW.

According to Annie Clarke from the Braidwood and Villages Tourism Association, a big problem in their part of town was animals being hit by cars.

Rather than remove the animals from the side of the road, they leave them there but marked with spray paint to let others know the animal has been checked for life, and if a female, for babies.

"It's a publicity thing, to beware about wildlife," Ms Clarke said.

"We do urge people to slow down in and around Braidwood."

Kimberley Le Lievre is the Editor of The Sunday Canberra Times

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