Litter is anything that has been disposed of incorrectly. Litter pollutes our roadsides, chokes our waterways and can threaten wildlife.
Littering is an environmental crime under the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the most visible sign of pollution.
Litter can be anything that is left where it is not meant to be left. The most commonly littered items are cigarette butts, plastic bags, packaging and take-away food and drink containers. Around 350,000 cigarette butts are washed into Port Phillip Bay every day through the stormwater system.
Littered areas are unpleasant to be in and often feel neglected or uncared for. Litter attracts more litter and can lead to other types of vandalism such as graffiti and property damage. Litter on our streets can also be a health risk, for example, broken glass can harm pedestrians and domestic animals and be dangerous for cyclists.
Cleaning up litter is a direct financial cost to local and state governments and therefore to the community. The annual clean-up bill in Victoria costs the community around $80 million.
The Environment Protection Agency has more information about litter and the effect it has on our environment.
If you see litter on the street, pick it up and put it in a bin before it enters the stormwater system.
Council response to littering
Report littering from a motor vehicle
You can report litter thrown from motor vehicles to the EPA and they can issue an infringement notices to litterers, with fines ranging from $288.72 for an unlit cigarette or small piece of rubbish to $577.44 for a lit cigarette.
To report littering from a vehicle to the EPA:
- download EPA Report Litter app to your smartphone
- online at EPA Report Litter
- phone EPA Litter Report Line on 1300 372 842, or
- download EPA Litter Report Form and send to the EPA.
When you report littering from a vehicle you need to provide the following details:
- vehicle registration
- vehicle make and model
- time and place of the offence
- description of the litter, and
- who the offence was committed by (driver or passenger).