Campaign gets south-west talking rubbish

February 10, 2017

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An Olympic athlete, an interstate truck driver and a Miles grazier are among a group of South-West Queensland locals ‘talking rubbish’ with QMDC in a bid to stop roadside littering.

Arguably the campaign’s most recognisable ‘clean up champion’ is 20-year-old Rio Olympian Matthew Denny, who literally threw his support behind the concept by hitting a rubbish bin with a discus for the television commercial.

“I’m a proud Queenslander and I love my hometown of Allora, it’s such a beautiful part of the world to drive through and live in. I don’t understand why people choose to litter when it’s so easy not to, I always bin it! ” Matthew said.

Nolan’s Interstate Transport truck driver Paul Carrington said he sees “someone throwing something out the window” on every trip through the region.

“My pet hate is driving past a takeaway food place and a couple of kilometres up the road, people throw the bag out the window, into the middle of the road, and you run over it. It’s just laziness,“ Paul said.

Meantime Miles Grazier, Jack Asplin, believes litter is getting worse on the Leichhardt Highway that fronts his family’s cattle property.

“I’ve lived here all my life and over that time have noticed a big increase in rubbish, its laying in the table drains and if we get decent rain it gets washed into the waterways,” Jack said.

‘Talking Rubbish’ is an extension of the recent “Love Queensland – Let’s keep it clean” campaign which left a legacy of roadside signage and brought QMDC together with the Australian Packaging Covenant (APC), the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP), and the region’s six local government areas.

QMDC CEO Geoff Penton said the campaign asked motorists to keep litter inside vehicles, to report littering to www.ehp.qld.gov.au and to get community members involved in roadside clean ups like Adopt-a-spot.

“We’ve launched the campaign a month ahead of Clean Up Australia Day (on 5 March 2017) to give people time to join the conversation and help clean up our roadsides.

“Litter audits done across the south-west prior to the first campaign showed litter was accumulating on our highways at a rate of 14 items, per 2km2, per day. This not only makes our roadsides look unattractive to tourists, it adds up to a significant environmental threat.

“The main items thrown out are drink containers, fast food packaging and cigarette butts with plastic containers particularly concentrated at roadside pull over areas, even where bins are provided.

Mr Penton said QMDC could help community members organise a roadside clean-up by supplying a trailer full of bags, gloves and water bottles, while for community groups, the Adopt-a-spot program was highly recommended.

“Taking part in a roadside clean-up is a highly visible and effective way of improving the environment for your town while sending a clear message to litter bugs.”

The town of Yelarbon in the Goondiwindi Regional Council (GRC) area is also leading by example with a whole-of-town clean up planned for the first weekend in March.

“We are working with the Yelarbon community and the council to coordinate a kerbside pickup of back yard rubbish from every household, followed by a roadside clean-up of the truck stops and three approaches into town.”

GRC Councillor and clean up champion Rob Mackenzie said the blitz was an opportunity for the town to come together and help the elderly or others not physically able to do the heavy lifting.

“On Monday, the 6th of March, the council and QMDC rangers will be coming around with a truck and a loader to pick up the bigger items like old white goods, anything that can will be recycled and the rest will go to landfill.

“It’s giving the town some ownership, and in general just tidying it up making it more attractive to tourism and building town spirit,” Cr Mackenzie said.

Mr Penton said throughout the campaign there was a common theme of litter being seen as a local issue that everyone had a role in addressing.

In the words of Wallumbilla Paralympian Darren Thrupp, “It’s up to all of us to do our bit.”

‘Talking Rubbish’ is proudly funded by the Queensland Government, the Australian Packaging Covenant and supported by the Toowoomba, Southern Downs, Western Downs, Maranoa and Goondiwindi regional councils and Balonne Shire Council.

See it, report it stop it: www.ehp.qld.gov.au

Watch Matthew Denny ‘talk rubbish’

More information, contact: QMDC CEO Geoff Penton on ph 0408 871 978.

Released by: QMDC Regional Communication Officer Donna Hurley, ph 0427 749 436

Toowoomba Office

127b Campbell Street (corner of Campbell and Bellevue)

PO Box 6243 Toowoomba West QLD 4350

P (07) 4637 6200 F (07) 4632 8062 E info@qmdc.org.au

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