OUR SHAME: 250kg of rubbish taken from river in one day
More than 250kg of rubbish were removed from North Creek in Ballina by volunteers in one day.
Items removed from the area included beer bottles and cans, plastics and plastic bait bags, pieces of foam, shoes, containers, clothes and other household rubbish dumped in the area.
All these items seriously affect wildlife, marine life, plants and the ecosystem.
OzFish volunteers removed the rubbish during Clean Up Australia Day on Sunday.
Members of the public helped clear debris from sensitive saltmarsh areas in North Creek. Approximately 250kg of debris was removed from the area, which is recognised as an important section of fish and crustacean habitat.
Two million tonnes of plastics are estimated to enter the oceans from rivers and creeks each year.
Local OzFish Chapter President, John Larsson was disappointed but not surprised by what they found.
“Unfortunately, this sensitive saltmarsh and mangrove area is a little out of the way and often a key target for dumpers instead of disposing of it responsibly,” he said.
“It was also disappointing to see so much of the plastic bait bags, cans and bottles that have found their way into our waterways and ending up smothering key habitat.
“Some of this is very difficult to remove once taken into thick mangrove areas.
“Our beautiful waterways shouldn’t be conveyor belts transporting waste into sensitive habitat areas and oceans”.
A new partnership with Tangaroa Blue Foundation, all of the litter OzFish collected was sorted and counted.
Data from the count will be entered into the Tangaroa Blue Australian Marine Debris Database, which is used by researchers to determine the best way to combat marine litter.
OzFish will also use the information collected to investigate new solutions recreational fishers can use to reduce litter entering local waterways.
Another team got busy on Sunday, clearing up around Water Street in Tweed Heads.
OzFish Tweed Chapter President Simon Fitzpatrick said the essence of the day is always about having a great time and giving back to our local community and our fishing.
“Our backyard is home to some of the most beautiful waterways in the world, but these places require us to use them thoughtfully and look after their natural values,” said Simon Fitzpatrick.
OzFish has long been an advocate of Clean Up Australia and this year recreational anglers will be out in force with more than 20 waterways around the country getting attention.