Beach litterbugs a concern

Sarah IsonBusselton Dunsborough Times

More than 40 bags of rubbish were collected from Dunsborough beaches after Boxing Day celebrations, prompting calls for a harder line on litterers in the lead-up to Australia Day.

Meelup and Castle Rock are two of the region’s most popular areas for public holiday and long-weekend beach parties but the sites have long been plagued by antisocial behaviour and littering. The City of Busselton put in place rigorous controls for Boxing Day, as reported by the Times last month, and while some sites had more success than others, City ranger and emergency services co-ordinator Ian McDowell conceded littering remained an issue.

Tangaroa Blue chief executive Heidi Taylor said it was “extremely disappointing” to see the coast so disrespected and took aim at visitors with little or no connection to the beaches on which they were celebrating. “Maybe they think it’s not as bad as if it were their own environment,” she said.

“The City needs to re-assess where its plans this year went wrong, particularly by consulting, not just locals but tourists, as to why they did or didn’t pick up after themselves.”

Ms Taylor said reviewing all strategies was important and presented the opportunity to develop an effective way forward in collaboration with the wider community.

Broken glass, plastics, cans and general waste were among the litter collected and a final comb-through of the area the following day by volunteers cleared up the rest.

City chief executive Mike Archer noted there was “marginal vegetation breakage in some areas”.

Mr McDowell told the Times the situation had improved compared with previous years.

“We hope that the culture of disposing of waste thoughtfully continues to become more embedded in the community and with visitors to the region,” he said.

“(There is) room for imp-rovement and we are hoping that celebrations on Australia Day do not result in antisocial behaviour and unacceptable levels of litter.”

Senior Sergeant Kelly Player said there were no violent or anti-social incidents on the day and she applauded the City’s plans and visitors’ behaviour.

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