Flicking a cigarette butt out of the car window has cost a man $1634 in fines and court costs after the Broadmeadows Magistrates Court found him guilty of littering under the Environment Protection Act.
The man was successfully prosecuted on Tuesday 23 April after choosing to contest the Infringement Notice issued by the Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA).
EPA issued the Infringement Notice, acting on a report received from a member of the public via the EPA’s Report Litter app.
“EPA counts on members of the public to report people who flick their butts out of car windows,” said EPA CEO Dr Cathy Wilkinson.
“Cigarette butt litter pollutes our roadsides and chokes our waterways,” Dr Wilkinson said.
The member of the public reported seeing a lit cigarette butt being flicked by the driver of a white Toyota Camry sedan onto Gaffney Street, Coburg in the afternoon of 25 January last year.
The infringement notice required the accused to pay a $634 penalty, as he was the registered owner of the vehicle at the time of the offence.
The member of the public who reported the incident recounted what they saw in court, satisfying the Judicial Registrar that the accused had indeed littered by flicking his butt.
As a result, the accused man left court having to pay both the $634 fine, and EPA’s court costs totalling $1000.
Dr Wilkinson said that EPA’s litter reporting program works to curb cigarette butt littering, with fines and enforcement actions undertaken through the courts “sending a clear message that this kind of mindless behaviour will have real consequences.”
EPA litter fines range from $322 for a small piece of rubbish or unlit cigarette up to $645 for a lit cigarette.
Last financial year, EPA handed out over $5 million in fines to more than 11,000 Victorians for discarding litter, mostly cigarette butts, from their vehicles.
People can report littering via EPA’s website, through its smartphone litter app, or by calling 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842).
Provide EPA with the following information when reporting:
- Who? Car details, registration number, colour, whether it was the driver or passenger, gender of litterer.
- What? Lit or unlit cigarette or a description of the litter item.
- When? Exact time and date of offence.
- Where? Where was the car, what road was it travelling on, in which suburb? What intersection was closest?
- How? How was the litter deposited – was it thrown from vehicle, dropped before exiting vehicle or dropped before getting into a car?