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.