Keep Australia Beautiful chief executive officer Peter McLean wants Australians to be more mindful of throwing litter from their vehicles.
NSW country drivers have dropped their bundle on rural highways.
The Keep Australia Beautiful Rural Highway Litter Index 2013/14 shows NSW has dropped from third to fourth when it comes to ranking the states on their rural roadside rubbish dumping habits.
NSW people dropped about 10 more items of rubbish on their backroads than they did in 2012/13.
NSW has increased from 24.2 to 35.7 items on the scale which now puts them above the national average for items discarded every 1000m2 of rural roads.
To put it in perspective, the Northern Territory made a dramatic improvement and is dropping 10 items less beside their roads.
Nationally, Australians throw 30.5 items of litter out of the car for every 1000 square metres of highway, with the worst offenders being plastics, cigarette butts, paper and glass.
With the Christmas/New Year holiday season a popular time for travelling around the country, I am urging Australians to treat their rural highways like their own backyards.
People probably adopt an out-of-sight, out-of-mind view to rural highways, compared to more high- profile sites like beaches.
But unless people make a deliberate effort, we can expect the amount of litter across the country to reach an all-time peak during the holiday period.
The fact is that littering is public vandalism no matter where or how much is dropped.
It doesn’t land on the roadside by magic. It has to be deliberately and wilfully thrown from a vehicle.
People need to get into a habit of putting their litter in a reused shopping bag in their car and throwing it in a bin when they get to the next rest stop or town.
All year we implore the community to “Keep Australia Beautiful”, so please apply those anti-littering messages now and give the country a great start to the New Year.
We don’t tolerate graffiti, but at least we can clean that up quickly.
Some forms of litter will last hundreds of years – in that sense, it’s environmental vandalism.