Monthly Archives

April 2017

Keep fishing line off the reef

By | Boating and fishing, Marine debris | 2 Comments
Litter Ambassador and Reef Check community engagement manager Jodi Salmond (right) is concerned about the amount of fishing tackle being left behind on our reefs. She is supporting the ‘Bin It — You know it’s right!’ campaign to put rubbish in its place. Pictured here with Reef Check Australia director of programs and partnerships, Jennifer Loder and just a sample of the fishing debris removed at a regular clean up location. Photo: Reef Check Australia

Litter Ambassador and Reef Check community engagement manager Jodi Salmond (left) is concerned about the amount of fishing tackle being left behind on our reefs. She is supporting the ‘Bin It — You know it’s right!’ campaign to put rubbish in its place. Pictured here with Reef Check Australia director of programs and partnerships, Jennifer Loder and just a sample of the fishing debris removed at a regular clean up location. Photo: Reef Check Australia

Wide Bay and the Fraser Coast regions are endowed with majestic whales and turtles, stunning beaches and a beautiful array of marine birds, all of which are threatened by discarded plastics and fishing line.

Below the water line, Litter Ambassador and Reef Check community engagement manager Jodi Salmond encounters the damaging effects of marine debris caught on the reef. She said there are at least 77 marine species in Australian waters that are directly impacted by litter in the ocean.

“Marine debris can be ingested, or animals and birds can become entangled, leading directly to their death or the loss of circulation to limbs resulting in amputation,” said Ms Salmond. “It is unacceptable that a 70 or 100-year-old turtle could survive a generation in the open ocean only to have its life ended by a plastic bag it mistakes for a jellyfish.”

“Our volunteers see the amount of debris that ends up on our beaches and in our oceans through community clean ups, and reef health surveys, including tiny bits of broken up plastics. It has been documented that small pieces of plastic are being fed to chicks of a variety of bird species and we know that chemicals leached from plastics and other sources are found in the flesh of fish and inside plankton. This bio-accumulation of chemicals and micro-plastics in the food chain will pose threats to animals and humans long into the future and needs to stop.”

The reefs in our region provide habitat for many marine creatures and are a drawcard for fishers, divers and tourists. Popular fishing spots often carry the greatest burden of fishing line and tackle from the ‘ones that got away’ or from being snagged on the reef itself. Ms Salmond is encouraging fishers to do what they can to reduce the amount of line left underwater.

“It is generally not safe to recover line and tackle once the line has snapped, but fishers can reel in as much line as possible when they realise the line is caught,” she said. “There are biodegradable line options available now and although more expensive than ordinary line is safer for the environment and worthy of consideration.”

Likewise, when fishing off the beach or rocks try to recover as much tackle as possible and never litter or bury bait bags. The tangler bins located at boat ramps throughout the region are a great initiative and make it easy to dispose of tangled line at the end of a fishing trip.

Ms Salmond said items such as plastic straws, coffee cups and other drink containers left behind by beach goers continue to degrade our beaches. She suggests we all take up the challenge to choose not to take a straw when we buy a drink and to choose glass bottles or aluminium cans instead of plastic bottle.

“An even better choice is the take your own coffee cup or drink bottle,” she said. “Many people think that take-away coffee cups are biodegradable but this isn’t the case.”

If you see household, garden or industrial waste being dumped in the bush, or rubbish being dropped or thrown from a vehicle or boat, you can report the incident to Fraser Coast Regional Council.

The Taking the Lead on Litter! Project is supported by the Queensland Government’s Litter and Illegal Dumping Community and Industry Partnerships Program.

For more information about the BMRG’s Taking the Lead on Litter project, please contact Jacinta Jowett, Project Coordinator on (07) 4181 2999.

Keep garden waste out of the bush

By | Green waste, Illegal dumping | No Comments
Litter Ambassador Maureen Schmitt is supporting the ‘Bin It — You know it’s right!’ campaign to reduce the incidence of green waste being dumped in Bundaberg region’s bushland and parks. She said garden and kitchen green waste is simply too valuable to dump anywhere.

Litter Ambassador Maureen Schmitt is supporting the ‘Bin It — You know it’s right!’ campaign to reduce the incidence of green waste being dumped in Bundaberg region’s bushland and parks. She said garden and kitchen green waste is simply too valuable to dump anywhere.

Everyone knows that plastic bags and wrappers, cigarette butts and bottles are litter if they are not disposed of properly but many don’t put lawn clippings and kitchen scraps in the same category.

This is a perception that Litter Ambassador Maureen Schmitt wants to change. She said that although green waste from the garden is organic it is still very destructive if it is dumped in bushland, on sand dunes or on riverbanks.

“Garden waste should be considered a valuable resource, far too valuable to just dump somewhere,” said Ms Schmitt. “Lawn clippings, tree prunings, leaves and even weeds are perfect for making compost or mulch for the garden but they spoil the structure and biodiversity of natural bushland environments.”

Ms Schmitt said many garden plants are nothing more than aggressive ‘bullies’ with no natural controls to restrict their spread in bushland. “Some material, like palm fronds can take years and years to breakdown and they provide no beneficial service to the environment,” she said. “Garden plants can quickly spread by seed or cuttings to form a monoculture of weeds in the bush, and grass clippings can smother native plants and introduce foreign grasses.”

Rather than dumping garden waste, Ms Schmitt suggests leaving lawn clippings on the lawn as a natural fertiliser and mulch, or mixing them with leaves, twigs and a little blood and bone to make a well-aerated mulch for garden beds.

“If you have a small garden it can be economical to share a garden bin bag with a neighbour or even donate your clippings to someone else’s compost,” she said. “Small tree branches cut up into 20 or 30 cm long pieces will break down slowly or you can use them as stakes for other plants. Palm fronds are one of the most difficult things to deal with but even they can be put to use as stakes once the leaves have been removed and added to the garden mulch.”

Using garden waste in this way will help smother weeds, slowly release nutrients and preserve soil moisture – all good outcomes in the garden. Ms Schmitt uses old bins with their bases removed as micro-composters around her own garden. Placing a bin at the base of a tree or within a vegetable garden, she puts all sorts of organic waste from the kitchen and around the garden, including weeds, and pops the lid on. Over time the contents of the bin breaks down and the nutrients are transported into the soil around the tree or veggie garden by industrious underground workers like earthworms.

“This system works so well and means I can ‘Bin it!’ in my own backyard,” she said. “There is no maintenance or digging required and no smell. I can just keep adding new material to the top of the pile. No green waste is sent to landfill and I don’t have a pile of waste that I need to dump.”

Larger tree branches and trunks are more difficult to manage and will generally need to be taken to a waste facility where the Bundaberg Regional Council uses them to make compost for residents to buy. Ms Schmitt recommends neighbourhood cooperation to reduce the cost of taking green waste to the dump as sharing the cost of a full load makes good economic sense. Dumping green waste anywhere other than at a waste facility is illegal and costs councils and ratepayers time and money to clear away weed infestations.

If you see household, garden or industrial waste being dumped in the bush, or rubbish being dropped or thrown from a vehicle, you can report the incident to Bundaberg Regional Council.

The Taking the Lead on Litter! Project is supported by the Queensland Government’s Litter and Illegal Dumping Community and Industry Partnerships Program.

For more information about the BMRG’s Taking the Lead on Litter project, please contact Jacinta Jowett, Project Coordinator on (07) 4181 2999.

 

Litter looks out of place in the mangroves

By | Boating and fishing, Green waste, Roadside Litter | No Comments
Litter Ambassador Lindsay Titmarsh wants to see all our waterways, beaches and mangrove flats litter-free. He is supporting the ‘Bin It — You know it’s right!’ campaign, encouraging everyone on the Fraser Coast to make use of the recycling and waste management facilities provided in the region and to keep litter in its place.

Litter Ambassador Lindsay Titmarsh wants to see all our waterways, beaches and mangrove flats litter-free. He is supporting the ‘Bin It — You know it’s right!’ campaign, encouraging everyone on the Fraser Coast to make use of the recycling and waste management facilities provided in the region and to keep litter in its place.

Next to ancient middens along the bank of the Mary River lie a plastic tray, glass bottle and a plastic lid, all looking very out of place.

“Rubbish like this just doesn’t belong in our rivers,” said Litter Ambassador Lindsay Titmarsh. “There is no excuse and we all have a responsibility to make sure empty containers like these don’t ever get let loose in the environment.”

Mr Titmarsh’s property, ‘Tandora’, is nestled between the Susan and Mary Rivers, within sight of River Heads. He has come to know the rivers, mangroves and their native inhabitants well in the 60 plus years he has called this property ‘home’.

“What really bothers me is that these plastic items never actually decompose,” he said. “We know that they just disintegrate into smaller and smaller pieces but they become a permanent part of the environment.”

Mr Titmarsh’s natural curiosity has led him accumulate extensive knowledge of mangrove ecosystems, which he enjoys sharing with locals, and tourists from around the world. He said it is upsetting for nature-loving visitors to see litter washed up on the river’s edge in an otherwise pristine environment full of natural wonders.

“We pick up other people’s rubbish all the time because it literally washes up in our backyard,” he said. “I can’t imagine people think about that when they throw rubbish out a car window or drop bait bags out of a boat. I am certain people wouldn’t like it if I dropped rubbish back in their yard.”

Protecting the environment also means green waste such as lawn clippings, weeds, unwanted garden plants and prunings are kept out of bushland. A valuable resource when composted or mulched, green waste has no place in the bush where it becomes a source of weed infestations and smothers native plants.

On the Fraser Coast, rate payers pay approximately $150,000 per year to collect around three semi-trailer loads of litter and illegally dumped rubbish across the region – a substantial and unnecessary cost.

If you see household, garden or industrial waste being dumped in the bush, or rubbish being dropped or thrown from a vehicle or boat, you can report the incident to Fraser Coast Regional Council.

The Taking the Lead on Litter! Project is supported by the Queensland Government’s Litter and Illegal Dumping Community and Industry Partnerships Program.

For more information about the BMRG’s Taking the Lead on Litter project, please contact Jacinta Jowett, Project Coordinator on (07) 4181 2999.

Clean site, safe site

By | Illegal dumping | No Comments
Litter Ambassador Bill Moorhead said many builders in the Bundaberg area are doing a great job to manage waste on construction sites, but there is much more that could be done across the industry. He is supporting the ‘Bin It — You know it’s right!’ campaign to reduce the impact of illegal dumping of construction waste in the Bundaberg region’s bushland and river environments.

Litter Ambassador Bill Moorhead said many builders in the Bundaberg area are doing a great job to manage waste on construction sites, but there is much more that could be done across the industry. He is supporting the ‘Bin It — You know it’s right!’ campaign to reduce the impact of illegal dumping of construction waste in the Bundaberg region’s bushland and river environments.

Housing developments and industrial construction sites are notorious sources of litter, waste and sediment, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Litter Ambassador and Bundaberg President of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) Bill Moorhead says builders and tradespeople can make a big difference to the amount of waste generated on a building site and the management of that waste.

“Clients can also influence the way waste is managed,” he said. “Waste management is a legitimate cost and customers need to support builders and insist that waste materials are disposed of correctly. There are also savings that can be made through careful management of building materials between jobs and these saving should be passed on to clients.”

“The UDIA does not tolerate illegal dumping of construction and industrial waste,” he said. “Our peak body is fully supportive of council efforts to investigate and prosecute cases of illegal dumping. This practice is bad for the environment and gives the perpetrator an unfair financial advantage over other businesses that are doing the right thing.”

Skip bins are the most common solution to managing solid waste such as timber, bricks and tiles, however Mr Moorhead would like to see builders implementing better systems on site to keep useful materials out of landfill.

He said there are many opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle materials on the work site including vast amounts of cardboard and plastic packaging that comes onto a building site and usually goes straight to landfill. He applauds builders and tradespeople who are making the effort to ‘Bin It’ — because they know it’s right!

“Liquid waste presents more difficulties for workers on construction sites,” he said. “Everyone is aware of the negative impact of plaster, concrete and paint being washed down stormwater drains and most tradespeople now wash out their equipment on the grass where it can break down, causing less environmental damage. Silt fencing and bunding of sites to keep liquid waste out of the stormwater is one area that needs improvement on many job sites.”

In addition to the environmental benefits of keeping a lid on waste, litter and silt leaving construction sites, Mr Moorhead said there are also significant financial benefits.

“Clean, tidy work sites are more efficient, there are less accidents, the workers are happier, less product is wasted and the buyer gets their property completed sooner,” he said. “Everyone stands to benefit when the building industry takes waste management seriously.”

Dumping 200 L or more, about the amount that would fit in a wheelie bin, anywhere other than a designated waste management facility is illegal and penalties of over $6000 apply for each infringement. Penalties increase according to the volume and type of items discarded illegally.

The Bundaberg Regional Council introduced an Illegal Dumping and Littering program in 2013. Since then, more than $36,000 in fines have been issued but the problem of loose litter on roadsides and adjacent to commercial premises continues to grow. CCTV cameras installed at illegal dumping hotspots has assisted in the difficult task of identifying offenders.

If you see household, garden or industrial waste being dumped in the bush, or rubbish being dropped or thrown from a vehicle or boat, you can report the incident to Bundaberg Regional Council.

The Taking the Lead on Litter! Project is supported by the Queensland Government’s Litter and Illegal Dumping Community and Industry Partnerships Program.

For more information about the BMRG’s Taking the Lead on Litter project, please contact Jacinta Jowett, Project Coordinator on (07) 4181 2999.

 

Enjoy the rivers, litter free

By | Boating and fishing | No Comments
Paddling along the beautiful Burrum River in a kayak is one of life’s many pleasures for Litter Ambassador Dr Tim Thornton, which is why he is disappointed whenever he sees litter accumulating along the river bank or in the mangroves. “There are some great camping sites along the Burrum River and it is a shame to see litter scattered around by people who have come to enjoy the river,” he said. “It doesn’t take much effort to carry out whatever you have carried in.” Getting out of town and onto the region’s rivers and creeks these school holidays is a wonderful way to relax and get away from your every-day world. Seeing rubbish floating in the water, caught up in the mangroves or along the banks is the last thing people want to see while enjoying the natural environment. It makes no sense to go to a beautiful place with abundant wildlife and to leave litter behind. “Keep rubbish secure while you are on the water and make sure that nothing is left loose to blow away or fall into the water,” said Tim. “If you are camping, keep in mind that many sites do not have rubbish bins provided so be prepared to keep rubbish in secure containers that animals can not scratch open or drag away.” Having rubbish bins at remote locations is costly to manage and it is difficult to stop wildlife and vermin from raiding bins and spreading rubbish. Taking all rubbish away and disposing of it at home or in bins provided at the nearest town is the best solution. “Thinking about ways to reduce the amount of rubbish generated on a day trip or while camping will reduce the hassle and make the outing more enjoyable for everyone,” he said. “Take re-usable containers for food and drinks and avoid small packages that generate lots of empty wrappers and bottles. Burying food scraps, fish frames or bait bags is not an acceptable disposal option. Bin it – you know it’s right!” “River banks have often been used to dump large items such as white goods and car bodies,” he said. “Fortunately this practice seems to be less now that in years past, which is a good thing. These items are unsightly, contaminate the environment and are very difficult for councils or volunteer groups to remove.” Dropping litter such as wrappers, cigarette butts, bottles and cans is illegal and penalties of over $240 apply for individual infringements. Penalties increase according to the volume and type of items discarded illegally. If you see household, garden or industrial waste being dumped in the bush, or rubbish being dropped or thrown from a vehicle or boat, you can report the incident to Fraser Coast Regional Council. The Taking the Lead on Litter! Project is supported by the Queensland Government's Litter and Illegal Dumping Community and Industry Partnerships Program. For more information about the BMRG’s Taking the Lead on Litter project, please contact Jacinta Jowett, Project Coordinator on (07) 4181 2999. Photo caption: Litter Ambassador Tim Thornton is supporting the ‘Bin It — You know it’s right!’ campaign to reduce the impact of litter in the Fraser Coast region’s bushland and river environments. He said it’s important that people enjoying the great outdoors are prepared to take care of their own rubbish and not assume there will be bins at recreational locations such as rivers and parks.

Litter Ambassador Tim Thornton is supporting the ‘Bin It — You know it’s right!’ campaign to reduce the impact of litter in the Fraser Coast region’s bushland and river environments. He said it’s important that people enjoying the great outdoors are prepared to take care of their own rubbish and not assume there will be bins at recreational locations such as rivers and parks.

Paddling along the beautiful Burrum River in a kayak is one of life’s many pleasures for Litter Ambassador Dr Tim Thornton, which is why he is disappointed whenever he sees litter accumulating along the river bank or in the mangroves.

“There are some great camping sites along the Burrum River and it is a shame to see litter scattered around by people who have come to enjoy the river,” he said. “It doesn’t take much effort to carry out whatever you have carried in.”

Getting out of town and onto the region’s rivers and creeks these school holidays is a wonderful way to relax and get away from your every-day world. Seeing rubbish floating in the water, caught up in the mangroves or along the banks is the last thing people want to see while enjoying the natural environment. It makes no sense to go to a beautiful place with abundant wildlife and to leave litter behind. Read More