Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) issued over $450,000 in fines to almost 1,000 people for littering from vehicles in inner Melbourne last financial year, new figures show.
Almost 600 of those fined threw lit cigarettes out their windows, over 300 disposed of unlit butts and more than 70 threw away small pieces of rubbish.
EPA Executive Director of Regulatory Practice and Strategy, Chris Webb said a Southbank man’s recent attempt to challenge a litter fine in court shows how costly littering can be.
“The man disputed his $295 fine, claiming he had no memory of throwing away an unlit cigarette while driving one Sunday,” Mr Webb said.
“That’s now proven an expensive Sunday drive. The court ruled in EPA’s favour and ordered the man to pay $1,420 in costs and to be on good behaviour for 12 months,” he said.
“Everyone issued with a litter fine has the right to request that EPA review the matter or to have it determined in court, and on this occasion the infringement was upheld.”
Mr Webb said a member of the public witnessed the man’s littering, reported it to EPA and later provided evidence in court.
“We would like to thank that person for making a report to us. This case really reinforces the importance of community reporting in holding litterers to account,” he said.
“Littering pollutes our roadsides, chokes our waterways and can threaten our wildlife. And throwing lit cigarettes out your car window is serious fire hazard, particularly in summer.”
Mr Webb said EPA’s litter program enables members of the public to report people who throw litter from a Victorian-registered motor vehicle.
People can report littering via EPA's website, through its smartphone litter app, or by calling 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842).
People will need the following information when reporting:
- Who? Car details, registration number, colour, whether it was the driver or passenger, gender of litterer.
- What? Lit or unlit cigarette or a description of the litter item.
- When? Exact time and date of offence.
- Where? Where was the car, what road was it travelling on, in which suburb? What intersection was closest?
- How? How was the litter deposited – was it thrown from vehicle, dropped before exiting vehicle or dropped before getting into a car?
From 1 July 2016, EPA litter fines range from $311 for a small piece of rubbish or unlit cigarette right up to $622 for a lit cigarette.
Last financial year EPA handed out over $6.5 million in fines to more than 15,000 Victorians for discarding litter from their vehicles.