Protect our environment and report a tosser

Sponsored by NSW Government and The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

I’ll never forget the day I was driving along the winding roads through the pristine mountains of Cusco in Peru. I was a few days into the trek to Machu Picchu along the Inca Trail when I got sick, so my tour guide organised a driver to come and pick me up. We were driving through a village and passed a woman and her daughter walking home from school – my driver asked if we could give them a lift and of course I agreed.

The young girl squeezed in the back next to me clutching an ice cream (still in its plastic wrapper) in her hand. Everyone was chatting in Spanish so I zoned out, taking in the spectacular Peruvian Andes – a landscape that to this day is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. The window was down and I could feel the fresh mountain air on my face and blowing through my hair. Then suddenly before I could even register what was happening, the girl next to me peeled the plastic wrapper off her ice cream, leant over me and casually threw it out the window! I watched the plastic wrapper dancing in the wind behind us, making its way down the mountain to its resting place in one of the most sacred landscapes in the world. I tried to let the girl and her mother know exactly what I thought of her littering, but unfortunately my message got lost in translation.

While I couldn’t get my message across in that car in Cusco, I most definitely can now. I’m proud to be working with the NSW Government and the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to help reduce litter in NSW by spreading the word about their ‘Hey Tosser!’ anti-litter campaign. Littering is so not cool, yet a lot of people like my ice-cream-loving mate from Cusco don’t see it as a big deal. Every piece of litter causes damage to our environment and the scariest thing is how easily it can end up in our waterways polluting our beaches and harming our precious marine life. Sydney is my hometown so it’s devastating to hear facts from the CSIRO like that 75% of marine debris in Sydney Harbour and surrounding beaches is plastic and comes from the local area.

If you’re having a picnic and your napkins blow away, you chase those napkins down. If you like to snack while you’re driving, keep a little rubbish bag in the car. And if you’re out and can’t find a bin to put your rubbish in, take it with you. The only way is to be extra vigilant and not just with yourself. If you see someone littering from their car (AKA a tosser), you can now report them to the EPA – fines from $250 can be issued from your report! That includes cigarette butt tossers – I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve seen a driver toss a cigarette butt out the window of their car. I’m so glad there is now a way to help reduce the 7.2 billion cigarette butts that are littered in Australia each year.

Littering out of vehicles is a huge problem with plastic take away containers, chip packets, plastic bottles and cigarette butts being the most tossed rubbish. If you see someone littering out of their vehicle, don’t be afraid to report it – we need to look out for our planet.

Visit Report to EPA and follow the prompts.

To report littering from a vehicle online you need to:

  • Have actually seen the litter being thrown, or blown, from the vehicle.
  • Be able to provide the vehicle registration details and the location where the littering took place.
  • Report the incident within 14 days.
  • Register the first time you make a report.

 

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