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SOAPBOX: The solution to the litterbug problem

Do tougher measures need to be introduced to deter people from littering? Photo: Che Chapman
Do tougher measures need to be introduced to deter people from littering? Photo: Che Chapman Che Chapman

IT BOGGLES my mind that some people are so lazy they believe litter laws don't apply to them.

And why, of all the rubbish you'd see on the side of the road, are the greasy remnants of fast food so vastly over-represented?

Is there some kind of link between poor health and littering, or are the people too lazy to find a bin also too lazy to cook for themselves?

And, yes, leaving a bag of your dog's steaming excrement on the beach so you can "pick it up on the way back" also counts as littering.

So how do we stop the filth? General littering attracts a $243 fine, but if the litter is considered dangerous that penalty increases to $487.

But the threat of fines clearly isn't strong enough a deterrent, and we need to seek inspiration elsewhere.

Singapore uses an interesting approach that could work here.

Not only can litterbugs who discard pieces of rubbish around the size of a coffee cup be fined up to $1000, they can be forced to complete community service while wearing high-visibility jerseys, in an attempt to shame them out of re-offending.

We could take it a step further.

Let's force litterbugs to clean up the community while wearing oversized, high-visibility, terribly unfashionable garb with slogans like "I'm a terrible Australian", "I made a stinky mess" or, for the fast food offenders, "My greasy feast is repeating on me".

It's time to use shame as a weapon for the greater good.

Topics:  crime environment fines litter littering opinion rubbish soapbox


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