The survey of 1,000 people revealed that 69% would report somebody they saw littering in a national park, and comes as individuals, businesses and schools make plans to participate in Clean Up Australia Day.
Littering and rubbish dumping are ongoing challenges for Parks Victoria Rangers, who care for 4.1 million hectares of the state and 70% of the coastline.
The highly involved process of removing rubbish cost Parks Victoria around $1 million each year and diverts Park Rangers’ time away from managing and improving the state’s parks and reserves. This impacts the maintenance of facilities and implementation of conservation programs that protect plants, animals and historical and cultural sites.
Rubbish dumping is also destructive to the environment and can be hazardous to humans and wildlife. Waste makes it into waterways through run-off, garden clippings spread invasive weeds, and animals and birds can ingest discarded waste material.
With more people out-and about in the warmer weather and longer daylight hours, Park Rangers hope that the survey findings translate into more reports from the community.
Although new surveillance and identification techniques are being employed by Parks Victoria to identify rubbish dumpers, park visitors and neighbours remain an important source of information and deterrence.
Penalties for people caught littering or dumping rubbish can include fines and prosecution resulting in convictions and even possible imprisonment.
Anyone witnessing rubbish dumping or littering in a park can call Parks Victoria on 13 1963 or the EPA Litter line: 1300 372 842. The EPA ‘Report Litter’ app can also be downloaded from the Apple or Google app stores.
Clean-up Australia Day
Parks Victoria is encouraging individuals and groups to get involved in Clean-up Australia Day on 3 March 2019. To find parks and reserves across the state where clean-up activities are happening, visit www.parkconnect.vic.gov.au or www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au