Courtesy of a grant from Seaworld Research and Rescue Foundation and & Healthy Land & Water, we joined forces with Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee to clean up the area of Bulimba Creek next to Preston Road Park. We had paddlers on Stand Up Paddle boards, Kayaks, Surf ski’s and canoes. As the crew arrived they registered at the main tent and had the opportunity to visit sponsors Anaconda who were helping us out with some amazing prizes for our volunteers.
Around 1000 the craft started hitting the waters with several people also walking the banks. It didn’t take long before the debris was coming back by the bag full. From the pontoon I often couldn’t see who was on the craft through the pile of debris. Everyone was having an absolute ball. It’s kind of like a shower. The cleaner you are the dirtier the shower is. Well as the creek was becoming cleaner and cleaner, the crew were coming back covered in mud and rubbish. It’s a sight I absolutely love. People covered in mud, with piles of rubbish, grinning from ear to ear.
One of the keys to events like this is to gather data. If all we do is go out and pick up rubbish, then next time the rubbish will be back time and time again. We need to know what it is we are picking up and where it is coming from. That way we can find the source. Once we know the source we can stop it. So if you had to guess what the number one item is we pulled out, what would that guess be?
Well it may actually surprise you that it isn’t plastic bottles. Whilst they were in large numbers (689) and the bottle lids came in at (431), and old favorite plastic bags totaled (140), it was polystyrene leading the way with nearly 2,500 items. This was made up of 581 foam cups, food packs and trays and the rest was packaging. Whilst Polystyrene is 90% air, those little pieces get everywhere and continue to break into smaller and smaller balls. Wouldn’t it be nice if the government put a ban on this material?
Some of the odd items that we found were a fire extinguisher (empty), an Anaconda (well it was actually an oil spill sock – no oil), 73 Syringes, a couple of tyres and a remote control plane. Someone would’ve been upset when they lost that.
All up we removed a staggering 366.1kg of debris which is a great mornings work.
Whilst we will always thank our sponsors, it is those that come and join us that are our greatest asset. Smiling happy faces cleaning the waterways for the good of the wildlife that frequent them. People reported seeing turtles and fish life in abundance. Now that the waterway is so much cleaner, they can live a healthier existence. Our job as humans is to be smarter. If we don’t create the debris, we don;t have to clean it up and our paddles would be for pure enjoyment. When you go shopping, play your part and remember the 4th ‘R’. We all know about Reduce, Reuse and Recycle but if we out REFUSE first, then we won’t be needing to clean up these items. Refuse plastics. Buy alternatives, they are out there.