October 7, 2010 - A new survey has given Australia another reason to malign smokers - they are to blame for most of Australia's litter. Keep Australia Beautiful observes eight sites in each state twice a year, passing on the cigarette butt count to 'Butt Free Australia'.
The national survey, which has been running for five years, found the most litter per 1000 square metres in Tasmania, and the least in Victoria. 56 butts 1,000 square metres was measured in Tasmania, the highest in the country and well above the national average of 32 butts. The national average was 66 items of litter per 1000 square metres or 7.55 litres in volume.
Keep Australia Beautiful chairman Don Chambers credited Victoria's approach, which allows motorists who witness littering from cars to report it, with its low litter rate. "There is a group of people who will always litter unless they know they will be fined," he said. "They are not interested in the environmental issues, they are not embarrassed by dropping rubbish."
Cigarette butts were clearly the most common kind of litter counted, with 32 butts per 1000 square metres in the 2009/2010 survey, up from 30 butts in the previous count.
NSW is now the most littered state according to the National Litter Index, compiled by Keep Australia Beautiful. An average of 75 items of litter for every 1000 sq m were found in NSW in 2009-10.
National Litter Index..
References: Keep Australia Beautiful survey finds smokers ciggarette butts most common litter, AAP, HeraldSun.com.au, 9/23/2010; Tas worst in discarding cigarette butts, ABC Northern Tasmania, 10/2/2010.