COMMUNITY groups, schools, businesses and individual across Mitchell Shire are set to clean up the region on Clean Up Australia Day on Sunday.
Residents are encouraged to tackle the surge in single-use disposable items, such as takeaway coffee cups, food packaging, masks and sanitised wipes – all of which have polluted parks, bushland, streets and waterways across the shire.
Several sites across the shire, including Broadford, Kilmore, Seymour, Tallarook, Wallan and Clonbinane, will take part.
The day gives residents the chance to showcase their community pride by joining together to improve the appearance of public spaces while supporting the environment.
Clonbinane resident of 36 years Cathy Soulsby said she had witnessed littering increase in her area, particularly from motorists throwing plastic bottles, cups and other food packaging out their windows.
In response, she organised her own Clean Up Australia Day event, starting from her home on Spur Road.
“It really bugs me to see the amount of litter on the side of the roads. We’re going to do Spur Road again, and because it’s an access road to Mount Disappointment State Forest we get a lot of gabage just chucked out car windows,” she said.
Ms Soulsby said she feared littering was an ingrained habit in some people, but hoped her presence cleaning up on the side of the road would strike a chord with passers-by.
“Learn to respect the bush a bit more,” she said.
“Hopefully they’ll see us out there picking things up and think twice about throwing their garbage out.”
Ms Soulsby encouraged everyone in her community to join and help pick up rubbish from 9.45am, before she hosts a barbecue lunch. People can register with her on 0416 391 085 before the day.
All volunteers are advised to bring a hat, gloves, sunscreen, drinking water and to wear closed-toe shoes.
Mitchell Shire Mayor Rhonda Sanderson said the shire’s environment had been affected by an increased uptake of single-use, disposable items during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Unfortunately, this waste pollutes our streets, parks, bushland and waterways, impacting on one of our greatest assets – nature,” she said.
“Clean Up Australia Day is fun, easy and anyone can take part. I commend the local groups that are organising a clean-up for their area and thank everyone who will take part on Sunday.”
To volunteer to take part in a clean-up, visit www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au/join-a-clean-up.