02/07/2014

Another Reason Not to Throw Rubbish Out The Car Window

significant roadside vegetation2

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Roadside vegetation is more important than you may think.

Hardly considered a ‘pristine’ environment, the neglected acres that parallel our roads are worth more to the environment than you would expect.

Often the home of empty chip packets, discarded drink bottles and various other depressing detritus, ‘significant roadside vegetation’, as it is known, is sometimes the best representative of an ecosystem that has otherwise been extensively cleared for other land uses (like agriculture). Old stock routes can sometimes be found alongside roads too, which can be important ecological representatives.

Anyone guilty of finding the rubbish stuffed in the back seat pocket overflowing, after the twelfth chocolate bar at the tail end of an eight-hour interstate trek, and deciding that the most they could deal with doing at that moment was flinging their rubbish out the window… is probably also guilty of thinking ‘oh well, the environment here is basically ruined by all the asphalt and petrol fumes anyway.’

Although relatable, it’s a lazy and misguided sentiment.

Roadside veg serves very important ecological functions. It can be used as shelters and ‘wildlife corridors’ linking remnants of vegetation and housing poorly represented species of both plants and animals. In some cases, it’s a refuge for endangered species and in heavily cleared areas, vegetation along the road represents the only remaining vegetation within that landscape.

So do the right thing. After that long in the car, you deserve that chocolate bar, but keep the wrappers/packaging/leftovers with you (if that means bringing something to put them in, think ahead and add that to your packing list. Paper bags or compostable plastic are best, but a handy idea is a repurposed bread bag as most of us have some of those lying around).

If you spot instances of others throwing rubbish out of the window, you can report them on the NSW EPA EnviroLine. Either on their website, by calling 131 555 or (if you’re keen) downloading the app to your phone.

epa app

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