A new target of 30 per cent reduction in litter levels has been set with the release of the Keep Australia Beautiful Council Litter Prevention Strategy for Western Australia 2020-2025.
The five-year strategy sets four strategic objectives including increasing community understanding of the impacts of litter on the environment, contributing to the long-term prevention of litter and marine debris, and ensuring the community is aware of penalties for littering.
The Keep Australia Beautiful Council will also monitor the level of litter in Western Australia and its marine environment to evaluate the effectiveness of programs.
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the strategy is grounded in community’s effort to tackle litter.
“There are more than 43,000 Keep Australia Beautiful Council volunteers and more than 15,000 registered litter reporters in WA participating in litter prevention and community clean-ups, and they all need our support,” he said.
“The strategy will increase community understanding of the impacts of litter and the flow-on effects on our rivers and oceans, to bring about behavioural change.”
According to Dawson, the new strategy is borne out of the “excellent results” achieved by the strategy between 2015 and 2020.
“The litter reduction target set in the 2015-20 strategy was for a 25 per cent reduction from the level of litter in 2012-13,” he said.
“Western Australia exceeded this target, achieving a 41 per cent reduction between 2012-13 and 2018-19.”
Dawson added that the state government has undertaken extensive community consultation over the past two years on actions to address litter and single-use plastics, including a ban on lightweight plastic bags and the introduction of a container deposit scheme, Containers for Change.
Containers for Change is expected to further reduce litter over the life of the strategy.
The Western Australian Government has also announced $59,000 in grants for 19 organisation to tackle litter problems in their local communities.
Grant recipients will use the funding for a range of sustainable projects, Dawson said, including beach clean-ups, education campaigns, reducing single-use plastics and cigarette butt litter.
Local governments, community groups, small to medium sized enterprises and schools are eligible to apply for the Keep Australia Beautiful Council’s community litter grants, which are awarded annually.