Litterbugs be warned, the public can fine you

Litterbugs who do their dirty deeds on Young’s roads had better keep an eye in the rear-view mirror now that fines can be issued from reports by members of the public.

The Young Tidy Town Committee has welcomed the announcement made by NSW Environment Minister Rob Stokes.

From March this year - and the first time in NSW - anyone found littering from their vehicles and reported to the litter hotline will face fines of up to $200 for individuals, $500 for lit cigarettes during fire bans and $900 for a corporation.

Previously anyone could report littering from a vehicle to the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), but all that resulted in was a letter of warning. 

The ability to issue fines was solely up to the EPA, council officers, or police.

“[We welcome the decision] because looking after the environment and keeping it in pristine condition is important,” Young Tidy Towns president Keith Duran said.

“Will it have an impact on Young? I hope not, because I’d like to think our community is proactive enough to look after our environment.”

Reports can be submitted on the NSW EPA website, or by downloading a new app that will allow motorists to report littering on the go (although the EPA cautions everyone to be responsible when using mobile phones while driving).

The ability for citizens to report came into effect on Sunday, with fines issued from March 1.

“Anything that looks to clean up the environment is a good initiative,” Keith said.

Keep NSW Beautiful said it’s a progressive step in getting NSW cleaned up by 2016, in line with the state government’s goal of making it the least littered state in Australia.

The title that is currently held by Victoria which leads the other states by a country mile.

One of the features of the Victorian anti-litter culture is a system of litter reporting similar to the one that’s just been introduced in NSW.

Over 20,000 people in Victoria are reported every year for littering, 64 per cent of which result in fines.

Whereas in NSW last year only 2862 motorists were fined for tossing rubbish from vehicles after being recorded by government officials.

Clean Up Australia also welcomed the change, especially in the lead up to the 25th anniversary of Clean Up Australia Day on Sunday, March 1.