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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 3 Hansard (12 March) . . Page.. 920 ..

MS MacDONALD (continuing):

Cigarette butts are carried into the water supply by wind and rain, and have been found in the stomachs of young birds, sea turtles and other marine creatures. The chemicals threaten both the lives of these animals and the quality of the water. Cigarette butts consistently make the top 10 rubbish items lists after Clean Up Australia Day, despite the fact that Australians should know better.

Of course, cigarette butts are not the only problem. Clean Up Australia Day organisers single out plastic bags as having a devastating impact on our natural environment, with more than 6 billion plastic bags used every year by Australians. On average, 60 bags were found at each clean-up site. Plastic bags take between 20 and 1,000 years to break down in the environment. It is certainly something for us all to think about, the next time we go grocery shopping.

In Canberra this year, cigarette butts and plastic bags were joined by car parts, household items, furniture, carpet, glass bottles, tin cans, drink bottle tops and more. Much of this could and should have been recycled. It is disappointing to note that rubbish levels this year were about the same as in the previous two years.

Organisers were pleased that only 10 needles were recovered from parks-a significant reduction from earlier years. However, it wasn't all good news with regard to needles, with 50 needles recovered in Fyshwick on Business Clean Up Day.

It is important to learn lessons from Clean Up Australia Day. We must be careful not to make a mockery of Canberra's No Waste by 2010 policy by turning a blind eye to the city's litter problem. We should-and I personally do-thank all of our volunteers. We should also acknowledge the problem, note our concern and consider all initiatives to improve the situation. After all, Clean Up Australia Day, which now attracts more than 600,000 volunteers across the country and has inspired a Clean Up the World Day, began when one man, Ian Kiernan, decided to organise a group of volunteers to clean up Sydney Harbour.

I believe it is important, Mr Speaker, to remember the old adage that one person can make a difference. Ian Kiernan's actions have certainly done that. He has opened the floodgates to a whole host of volunteers but, of course, we need to be ever vigilant to try to reduce the rubbish in our city.

MR CORNWELL (11.58): At one stage, I wondered whether Ms MacDonald was starting a debate on the anti-smoking drive. However, I noticed, towards the end, that she made other comments.

Mr Speaker, I suppose the motion before us is stating the bleeding obvious. It is an unremarkable statement, but the opposition joins with the government in congratulating Clean Up Australia volunteers-and numbers of us here participated.

May I say, however, that we do not have to clean up Australia just one day of the year. I hope there are plenty of people out there in the community who will clean up Australia every day of the year. It is not a difficult thing to take a plastic bag with you when you

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