National litter count results are in




Credit: Ildar Sagdejev/Wikimedia

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The annual National Litter Index results are in today, and while Australia's litter count is down, it's apparent there's still plenty of room for improvement.

Conducted by Keep Australia Beautiful (KAB), the Litter Index is Australia's only national, annual, quantitative measure of litter. It provides base line data on littered rubbish across the country, with the aim of assisting governments, businesses and communities to develop policies and programs to reduce its occurence.

"Litter is just not acceptable. It is a blight on our local environment and encourages other problems such as graffiti and vandalism," said KAB's Executive Officer, Scott Lyall.

"The research shows a slight reduction in the national average, yet highlights some trouble spots."

The 2009 report, available on the KAB wesbite, shows that Victoria performed best overall, with a significantly decreased count, whilst Queensland showed the highest reduction in litter items in comparison to last year.

South Australia also continued to record a steady decrease in litter items, while the Australian Capital Territory showed an overall downward trend, with the exception of an increase of litter at retail sites, and an increase in the number of plastic items from last year.

Similarly, New South Wales reported an overall decrease in litter, but with a slight increase in paper and cardboard items, as well as glass bottles from alcoholic beverages.

The Northern Territory, meanwhile, experienced an overall increase in litter, with retail sites, car parks and beaches being the trouble locations. Of particular note was a spike in the proportion of plastic litter items reported.

Western Australia was slightly up on littered items as well, with retail sites, car parks and shopping centres being the highest areas to increase. Encouragingly, there was a substantial decline in litter found at industrial sites.

Tasmania, too, showed an increase in litter, primarily within industrial areas, and also recorded a rise in littered plastic food containers and utensils.

Overall, the KAB report shows that industrial areas, retail sites and highways are the major areas affected by litter in Australia, and cigarette butts - although down from last year - remain the most pervasive litter item, with an average 30 butts per 1000 square metres.

Plastic litter, including food containers and utensils, followed close behind.

Illegal dumping, though slightly down from last year, continued to contribute the most to litter volume nationally.

"We call on all Australian's to do the right thing and put litter in the bin," Lyall said, adding that reducing litter and increasing recycling is "something we can all do".

The litter report comes ahead of this year's Keep Australia Beautiful Week, which runs from the 24th of August.