New research from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has found that even though the community knows that littering is wrong, people are still making excuses.
The research shows that one in four people wouldn’t call someone a litterer if they only did it once a month and that 75 per cent of respondents said they rarely or never litter, with 46 per cent believing most littering is done by a few repeat offenders.
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The NSW EPA has recently launched the Don’t be a Tosser! campaign to reduce littering and points out there are no valid excuses.
Clinical psychologist Jo Lamble explains there are reasons why litterers look to make excuses but that these excuses can be part of the bigger problem when it comes to changing behaviour.
“We all use excuses from time to time to rationalise our behaviour and allow ourselves to litter. But this behaviour has direct consequences on our environment,” Ms Lamble said.
“Making excuses lowers our sense of responsibility and most importantly, decreases the likelihood of positive change.
“If we continue to make excuses for our behaviour e.g. ‘It’s not a big deal; I only do it sometimes; there isn’t a bin etc’ the bad habit will continue. To break a habit, we need to be fully conscious of what we are doing and the consequences of that behaviour,” Ms Lamble said.
EPA Litter Prevention Manager Sharon Owens said littering was a damaging but preventable environmental problem.
“Around 25,000 tonnes of litter are tossed in NSW each year, costing our community and the environment. Through the Don’t be a Tosser! campaign, we’re asking NSW residents to look at the excuses they use for littering,” Ms Owens said.
“The Don’t be a Tosser campaign will highlight that even if you litter just once or as a ‘one-off’, your rubbish ends up becoming part of a bigger litter problem,” she said.
“Reducing littering is important for the health of the environment and of our communities. Everyone is responsible for their own litter and the best bit is that it is easy to do something about it if we all work together.”
More information about the Don’t be a Tosser campaign can be found here.