Dob in a tosser

 2014.05.31LitterSweep_-65_Lo_Lo

Eagle-eyed members of the NSW public can dob-in litterbugs who dump rubbish from their vehicles from March 1.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) launched a new system on February 1 to allow public reporting of littering from vehicles using the Authority’s website or phone app. Fines will be issued from March for reports submitted by the community.

It’s a system that was introduced in Victoria in 2002 and Queensland in 2011 with the idea being that people think twice before littering if they think they are being watched.

Reports can include observing litter being thrown out of a vehicle into a public place, such as a car park, fast food outlet, public road or shopping centre car park or seeing litter being blown off or out of a vehicle – including a trailer or back of a ute – into a public place.

Reports should include a description of whether the litter was thrown, blown or dropped and who threw it, the make, colour, body type, model and numberplate of the vehicle, where and when the incident happened.  Your identity won’t be revealed unless you go to court.

You have 14 days to report the offence and retain any accompanying notes, photos and videos.

Fines are $250 for a motorist caught littering and driving a car owned by an individual or $500 if the offender is driving a company car.

There is also a category of misdemeanour called aggravated littering where the litter is considered dangerous, for example flicking a lit cigarette from a car on days when there is a bushfire warning and this attracts a $375 fine for a private car and double that for a business vehicle.

More than 90 per cent of fines issued are due to discarded cigarette butts and 2009 figures show cigarettes started more than 4500 fires in Australia.

EPA’s Manager of Litter Prevention Sharon Owens said the Authority had taken public reports of littering from vehicles for many years but previously only reports by enforcement staff such as police and council officers could lead to fines.

Previous EPA research had shown a solid level of public support for the scheme.

“We’re asking people to do exactly what they have done before but what we have added is the requirement for a person to register because it’s an evidential process and it’s important that we are able to contact the person who reported the observation to use in case there are challenges.”

Ms Owens said false reporting was unlikely as there were safeguards in place.

Community reporters must be at least 18 years old and register their personal details and also agree to the Authority’s terms and conditions. They must have witnessed the littering themselves, whether by the driver or by other people in the vehicle.

“We feel reasonably confident after talking to other states that have this in place that we can manage that issue and we are monitoring it very closely and we will tweak if we have to. The onus of proof is exactly the same as any other offence, you’re innocent until proven guilty. You have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that an offence was committed.”

As well, if the fine is challenged the reporter must be prepared to go to court and provide a witness statement. But court was the last resort, after challenging a fine with the State Debt Recovery Office and going through other stages in the review process.

Ms Owens said the scheme had appeared to prove successful in Victoria.

“Victoria is the least littered state in Australia according to the National Litter Index, and it’s had the system for the longest as well as investing in public education campaigns.

“This is a long-term commitment from the EPA in this space and the public had told us that they think this is an important issue.”

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Dob in a tosser

  1. What a great idea! Let’s encourage people to use their mobile phones whilst driving to “dob in a tosser” . What is more dangerous, someone flicking a cigarette butt out their window or using their mobile phone while driving?
    What is to stop someone making a false accusation simply because they don’t like your driving? All you are doing is setting up an avenue for vigilantism by do-gooders. Really clever.

  2. another case of missing the point entirely, the irony is amazing and this comedy of blundering shame has come this far in our all to entitled KGB themed nanny state, turn all the people against each other and convince everyone that this insignificant microcosm of the problem is actually making a difference to the real problems , for EVERYONE not just making your local park and recreation area unsightly and ruin your perving on women walking they’re dogs or making a mess in your local gay ‘beat’ at night. what do you think happens to your garbage even when you put it in the bin ? it just disappears ? it goes to garbage heaven in the sky ? NO its a case of out of sight out of mind , the real culprits that should be rep-remanded and held accountable , and for that matter actually have the power to make a difference are the big business manufacturers that are producing all this consumer products that have an unreasonable amount of waste and packaging without any attempts to address the problem or any strategies to tackle the problem in the long term, i say go ahead and toss because at least then we can know the reality of humanities mess and not just sweep it under the carpet and act like thats the end of the story , WAKE UP

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