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Litterbugs face heavier fines
Expensive move: Litterbugs face heavier fines. Picture: Sandie Bertrand/ The West Australian

People dropping items of rubbish deemed dangerous such as lit cigarettes will face hefty fines of up to $5000 from today under new anti-littering rules introduced by the State Government.

Amid WA's continued poor performance with littering compared with other States, the Government has significantly increased the penalties applying to people caught dumping rubbish and waste illegally.

Environment Minister Bill Marmion said the laws would see those caught dropping hazardous material such as glass or lit cigarette butts liable to on-the-spot fines of $500, up from $200.

Depending on the seriousness of the offence individuals. and businesses could also be prosecuted and if convicted face infringements of up to $5000 and $10,000 respectively. The penalty for minor littering offences such as dropping packaging and unlit cigarette butts will also jump, from $75 to $200.

Mr Marmion said the stiffer fines better reflected the seriousness and inherent danger of littering. "Litter is not only unsightly, it can cause serious harm - a smouldering discarded cigarette could easily start a bushfire, especially in current hot conditions," Mr Marmion said.

Shadow environment minister Sally Talbot said Labor supported the changes but doubted whether they would realistically deter litterbugs.