CAMPAIGN: Cr Mark Sultana and St John Paul College students get their hands dirty.
CAMPAIGN: Cr Mark Sultana and St John Paul College students get their hands dirty.

RMS responds to road rubbish

COMPLAINTS about accumulating litter on the Pacific Hwy between Sapphire and Woolgoolga have been addressed this week by the Roads and Maritime Service.

After an article in Wednesday's Advocate, an RMS spokesperson said the clean-up is scheduled for Tuesday, weather permitting.

It comes ahead of the Coffs Coast's peak tourism season, which will mean the roadside along the highway will be more presentable for visitors.

United Residents Group of Emerald Beach secretary Karla Gillies is pleased with the quick response from the RMS.

"It's good the RMS is paying attention to people's concerns and they're coming to do something about it, which is great, and I can only hope they'll listen to our other concerns also," Karla said.

Karla said the build-up of excess rubbish is reflective of a lack of care and maintenance.

Coffs Harbour Highway Patrol supervisor, Sergeant Jarrod Langan said it can be difficult to detect and enforce littering along the highway due to the elusiveness of the act. "To catch them in the act is something that doesn't occur very often. In saying that, whenever it does, I'm extremely confident that all my officers here at the highway patrol act appropriately," he said.

Sergeant Langan said "a multi-faceted approach" is required to tackle the problem by involving community groups, the Coffs Harbour City Council and Coffs Coast residents.

He said a key part of driving change would be to create effective and educational anti-litter campaigns, drawing on the Don't be a Tosser advertising campaign as an example.

"At least they made people think about throwing stuff out of the window," he said.

Coffs Harbour City Councillor Mark Sultana agrees and said the clean-up must be a "community initiative". involving all members of the community.

Cr Sultana is collaborating with council on a number of initiatives, not just to clean up our highways, but to keep the Coffs Coast litter-free in general.

"If there's enough enthusiasm from members of the public to warrant putting something together, then I am definitely happy do get something going. And as far as I'm concerned, there is. "

The RMS called on community members to report drivers inappropriately disposing their rubbish along the highway.

"Community members should report drivers, who discard their litter along roads, to the NSW Environment Protection Authority, including details such as vehicle registration, location, type of litter, date and time."

Litter Penalties

As of March 1, increased fines came into effect following the introduction of a new public reporting system for littering from vehicles on February 1.

Tossing rubbish on the roadside = a minimum $250 fine.

How to report a tosser

The NSW Envionmental Protection Association (EPA) allows you access an online reporting portal to report roadside littering. You can also report littering by using the EPA's mobile app. Visit the website for more details.

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