THE amount of rubbish found on Newcastle’s beaches and waterways is increasing, according to Clean Up Australia Day founder Ian Kiernan.
Mr Kiernan visited Nobbys beach yesterday to release results of the 2012 Rubbish Report, which provides a snapshot into the garbage removed by Clean Up Australia volunteers last year.
‘‘Average roadside items increased from 86 to 197 in this district and, in creeks, more than doubled from 104 to 255,’’ Mr Kiernan said.
‘‘What we’re finding with your beautiful beaches is we’re still seeing a lot of rubbish beachside, creekside, roadside and, sadly, plastic is very much up there with one of the most common materials we find.
‘‘It’s so durable, it accumulates, it floats.’’
The annual report said beaches and coastal areas recorded having the highest average number of rubbish items – 306 pieces– across all types of sites in NSW, including bushland, parks and school grounds.
Beaches, rivers and creeks accounted for 48per cent of rubbish found across Australia.
Alcoholic beverage bottles, PET drink containers, cigarette butts, soft drink cans and bottle caps and lids were the five most commonly found rubbish items across NSW.
But Newcastle City Council waste education officer Alicia Martin said there had also been large items including lounges and tyres found at locations including Stockton sandspit. Ms Martin said the sandspit and Throsby Creek mangroves near the Elizabeth Street roundabout at Tighes Hill were some of the most polluted waterways in the region.
Novocastrians collected three tonnes of general waste and half a tonne of recyclable material on Clean Up Australia Day last year.
Already, 300 volunteers have registered to clean about 30 sites across this city for this year’s event.
‘‘The environment is a primary issue and we need to look after it,’’ Mr Kiernan said.
‘‘We need to send a clear message to government at all levels and to business that the environment matters to us, we’re prepared to give up our Sunday to clean it up and that they need to join with us.’’
Co-ordinator of the Nobbys beach site Jo Midwinter said she hated seeing litter on the beach.
‘‘Nobbys is popular with tourists and is quite often used as an opportunity to showcase our city, so let’s work to keep it beautiful.’’
Clean Up Australia Day is March 3, with Business Clean Up Day on February 26 and Schools Clean Up Day on March 1. cleanupaustraliaday.org.au