Healthy Waterways have developed a Clean Up Campaign to implement solutions to the serious threat of waterway litter and marine debris in the South East Queensland (SEQ) region.
While the current Clean Up Program has been effective in clearing litter from waterways, Healthy Waterways recognise that prevention is better than a cure, and rubbish that enters our waterways is preventable.
The campaign aims to raise public awareness of the issue and impacts of waterway litter in SEQ, and engage them in the solution.
Proposed Campaign features include:
- A program to raise community awareness about waterway litter and how individual actions contribute to the issue of marine debris, both locally and globally. This includes a range of educational resources.
- The installation of improved bin infrastructure at fishing spots, boat ramps, marinas and boat clubs. This will aid the recovery of discarded fishing line and the collection of recyclable material where possible.
- Increased collaboration and capacity building with relevant school, community, industry and government groups to reduce the level of litter in SEQ waterways
- A new Healthy Waterways Awards category called the ‘Clean Up Award’ that will recognise and reward clean up achievements and proactive efforts for reducing waterway litter.
This anti-littering initiative addresses one of the objectives within the SEQ Healthy Waterways Strategy:
Reduced litter in South East Queensland through increased understanding of its presence in waterways and catchments and its potential impact on ecosystems and wildlife.
As part of this campaign, four anti-littering advertisements were developed:
Lost and littered recreational fishing line has many impacts on waterways including death and injury to wildlife, destruction and degradation of fish habitat, damage of recreational fishing spots, and subsequent loss of a quality recreational fishing experience.
Always dispose of fishing line carefully and consider using biodegradable fishing line.
Paint, varnishes and lacquer along with other household products contain a range of toxins and petrochemicals that are hazardous to aquatic wildlife and degrade water quality.
Even when these products are diluted they should never be tipped down stormwater drains or dumped near waterways.
Use the Planet Ark recycling website to find contact details for disposal of chemicals and paint by your local council and drop off points for other items that can be recycled.
Cigarette butts can take up to 12 months to break down in fresh water and up to 5 years in seawater.
Birds and aquatic animals can mistake butts as food and swallow them, resulting in serious digestive problems that may lead to death.
Another concern is the toxic chemicals that the filters in cigarette butts are designed to capture, such as lead and cadmium, which will start to leach out within one hour of contact with water.
Rain washes street litter into the stormwater system and into local waterways. This litter can add to the global problem of marine debris.
Every year over 6 million tonnes of rubbish ends up in the world’s oceans, 80% of which is plastic, with a further 10% of this being plastic bags.
Litter on land and in waterways reduces the aesthetic value of local communities, limits our recreational use of waterways and income from activities such as tourism.