Cast your vote then clean up this weekend

There are two very important dates for Tasmanians this weekend.

On Saturday, it’s March 3 – our state election, where we’ll head to the polls to exercise our right to choose those who will represent us for the next four years.

Sunday is also an important day. It’s Clean Up Australia Day.

This week, The Examiner reported the unusual tale of a copperhead snake being rescued after it found itself stuck inside a littered drink can.

On the surface, the story might seem harmless. It’s an extraordinary yarn, a “did-you-hear-about” story to share with friends and family on social media.

But upon closer inspection, it’s a sad look at the state of our state.

Love them or hate them, snakes should not have to be rescued by humans – especially when their predicament is caused by a human.

How many more animals, reptiles or birds have found themselves in similar situations? Or worse – without a rescuer, dying at the hands of a lazy person’s rubbish.

Keep Australia Beautiful co-ordinates a National Litter Index each year, and has done for more than 10 years.

The most recent index shows that nationally, litter volume is down 4.3 per cent.

Unfortunately, Tasmania bucked the trend. The stats showed our litter volume count was a 6 per cent increase on the previous year.

At such an important time in our state’s branding, it is disappointing to see results like this.

Some could blame the increased litter on the increasing number of visitors to Tasmania.

But would that really be true?

For years, The Examiner has covered stories about illegal rubbish dumping in our parks and reserves.

Tourists certainly did not bring garbage bags full of rubbish, old mattresses and broken electrical goods all the way across the Bass Strait, just to dump under a tree.

Regardless of our situation in the tourism market, we should be respecting the beauty of our state by not littering, and definitely not dumping rubbish en masse.

This Clean Up Australia Day, it’s a chance to follow up that vote you cast on Saturday.

Show the state how much you care about its representation, and its presentation.

It gives us so much to be proud of, and it’s time we showed some respect.