Get ready to clean up

NO PIECE of rubbish will be safe on March 4 as Australians band together to clean up the nation.

Environment Minister Vicky Darling launched this year's Clean Up Australia Day Queensland campaign with a call out for everything to get involved.

"It's time to clean up Queensland's dubious record of the most littered mainland state in Australia," Ms Darling said.

"While the vast majority of Queenslanders 'do the right thing,' we discard 15 per cent more litter than the national average, according to the Keep Australia Beautiful National Litter Index.

"Every year thousands of volunteers across Queensland turn out for Clean Up Australia Day and make a real difference to our environment.

"Their actions also encourage better attitudes in our community when it comes to people throwing away their rubbish.

"If you've never volunteered before, I urge you to get involved and take an hour out of your weekend to help clean u p our environment."

Ms Darling said that food and drink packaging was the most discarded larger item, building up on roadsides, blocking gutters and finding its way into waterways.

"Unfortunately this rubbish is not only costly to remove, it's also devastating for our wildlife," she said.

"Litter is often mistaken for food by animals and marine life, blocking their digestive tract and causing a slow and painful death.

"The consequences of every carelessly discarded piece of litter, no matter how small, can be serious but we can all play our part by disposing of our rubbish properly and recycling as much of our waste as possible."

Ms Darling encouraged Queenslanders to report littering and illegal dumping through the Department of Environment and Resource Management's new public reporting system.

"More than 200 fines have been issued since the system went live on 1 February.

"We gave people time to adjust - b ut the grace period is over.

"Be warned - if you litter or illegally dump rubbish expect to be fined."

For littering, fines range from $200 to $3000 and for dangerous littering fines range from $400 to $4000.

For illegal dumping, depending on the size, fines can range from $1600 up to $100,000.

To join the hundreds of thousands of volunteers who will be out cleaning up their communities on Sunday, 4 March, register at an event near you at www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au