A sofa that was dumped at a Newell Highway rest stop. Photo: SuppliedTwo sites along the Pacific Highway north of Sydney have been named as among the worst black spots in NSW for kerbside rubbish dumping.
The ranking comes as the government ramps up fines for littering this Christmas, to address the state’s multi-million-dollar problem with litter along its highways.
Highway service centres and rest areas, and entrances and exits to towns, have been identified as the most common sites for rubbish dumping, with high rates recorded during holiday periods.
“The NSW government invests big dollars to try and keep our highways clean. The Pacific, Princes, Hume and Newell highways are some of the holiday roads which we spend more than $9 million on clean-up costs each year,” Roads Minister Duncan Gay said.
The top five worst dumping hotspots have been ranked, with the worst areas identified as the Pacific Highway at Ourimbah,79 kilometres from Sydney, and Lake Haven Sparks Road to Lake Haven Drive, 31 kilometres from Gosford.
This year, the two areas combined cost more than $2 million in clean-up costs.
The Hume Highway at Penrose Forest Road, Penrose, 53 kilometres from Goulburn, came in next at a cost of $1.3 million.
It was followed by the New England Highway at Goonoo Goonoo Rest Area (132 kilometres from Muswellbrook) at more than $850,000, the Newell Highway at the Marthaguy Rest Area (51 kilometres from Dubbo) at almost $650,000, while the Princes Highway at the Nungarry Rest Area (six kilometres north of Kiama) cost almost $550,000.
Mr Gay said extra resources had been put towards rubbish clean-ups over the holiday break.
Litter along NSW highways is not just bottles and food packets – large debris is also in the mix. Photo: Supplied
“You wouldn’t like it if people were dropping rubbish in your backyard, so don’t do it on our highways. We’re doing our bit, now do yours.”
He added: “If you’re getting a burger or a snack en route, it is simple; put the rubbish in the bin. Don’t be disgusting.”
The push to tackle roadside rubbish is part of the strategy to meet Premier Mike Baird’s”Premier’s priority”to reduce the state’s total litter by 40 per cent by 2020.
Last week, Environment Minister Mark Speakmanreleased a public discussion paper for a NSW container deposit scheme, which will also work towards meeting the litter target.
Fines for littering from a vehicle range from $250 for an individual and $500 for a corporation to $900 for aggravated littering, such as lit cigarette butts during extreme weather conditions.
NSW Environmental Protection Authority director Stephen Beaman said the most common items tossed on the state’s highways were items such as “cigarette butts, beverage containers [and] fast food wrappers”.
Even when a bin is provided, travellers are opting for the ground instead. Photo: Supplied
“People can now report if they see someone, usingthe Report to EPA app. They can record the time, place and region, and if the evidence is sufficient we can issue a fine.”
The citizen’s reporting app has been in place for around nine months and has resulted in a strong outcome.
“Something like 12,000 people have downloaded the app and we’ve issued about 6000 fines. In the previous year we issued around 450 fines, but now the community is our eyes and ears,” he said.
“For us, it’s about not issuing fines. The perfect outcome would be a social norm where people don’t litter.”
Mr Gay said the most frustrating thing is that motorists using highways as dumping grounds are throwing away millions of taxpayer dollars.
“We’d much rather be spending this money on other road safety, maintenance and infrastructure projects.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.