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Disgrace on the Darling

Monday, 5th January, 2015

By Emily Roberts

Country drivers have dropped their littering habits, but campers in the Broken Hill district are a disgrace when it comes to leaving rubbish about.

The Keep Australia Beautiful Rural Highway Litter Index 2013/14 shows NSW has dropped from third to fourth among the states.

But West Darling Fishing Club president Robert Bosch said loads of rubbish were still being left along the Darling River.

“There is a lot of rubbish at Texas Downs and the Burke and Wills campsite,” Mr Bosch said.

“It’s mostly where there is no signage or restrictions. People go in there and they’re not responsible to anyone and they can dump what they like, even though there are bins available.”

Mr Bosch said he always followed the “take it in, take it out” rule.

“If you bring a carton of beer, it’s always lighter when you finish - so take it with you,” he said.

“Or put it in a dumpster. The rubbish that is left around is nothing short of disgraceful.

“We’ve had areas where toilet paper and half rolls of toilet paper are just lying around.

“A couple of weeks ago, a tree had fallen over and campers set fire to it. It burned all the way to the roots and continued to burn in the ground.

“It was virtually impossible to put out. The Fishing Club spent a good hour trying to extinguish it.”

Mr Bosch said there was a possibility that these grounds could be lost to campers.

“Tandou owns Texas Downs and they could take it away from campers. Then we’ve lost some good camping grounds.

“Some people are just damn idiots. They can’t see past the end of their nose.”

Mr Bosch said people need to be mindful of the environment.

“Our policy is that the only thing we leave behind are our footprints,” he said.

“It is a privilege to be able to camp and fish in that area.”

With the Christmas-New Year holiday season a popular time for travelling around the country, Keep Australia Beautiful Chief Executive Officer Peter McLean is urging people to treat their highways like their own backyards.

“People probably adopt an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ view to rural highways, compared to more high profile sites like beaches,” Mr McLean said.

“But unless people make a deliberate effort, we can expect the amount of litter across the country to reach an all-time peak during the holiday period.

“The fact is that littering is public vandalism no matter where or how much is dropped. It doesn’t land on the roadside by magic. It has to be deliberately and wilfully thrown from a vehicle.”

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