South East Queensland’s leading environmental scientists have warned that community apathy could kill Moreton Bay.
The prediction is based on the results of the 2018 Healthy Land and Water Report Card, an annual study of the health of South East Queensland’s waterways.
The 2018 Report Card found the overall condition of waterways draining into Moreton Bay are in poor condition (average of D+) due to high levels of mud and other pollutants that ultimately flow into the bay.
In a similarly worrying trend, a scientific survey of 3000 people conducted as part of the Report Card revealed 60 per cent of SEQ residents believe it is not their responsibility to help protect local waterways.
Professor Rod Connolly, from Healthy Land and Water Science Committee, said he was deeply concerned about the findings considering Moreton Bay provides about $7.56 billion of value to the SEQ economy every year.
He said more than 3.6 million people visited Moreton Bay in 2017, only slightly less than the combined 3.8m who visited the Southern Great Barrier Reef, Whitsundays and Mackay in 2017.
“Moreton Bay is the jewel of SEQ but we are not doing enough to protect it,” he said.
“While the Great Barrier Reef receives much of the focus and hundreds of millions of dollars in funding, Moreton Bay is being left behind.
“The bay directly and indirectly employs thousands of people and provides countless social and lifestyle benefits to the community, and all of that could be in peril unless we change our ways.”
Professor Connolly said Moreton Bay Would likely deteriorate in the years ahead as pressures on the bay rise.
“Urbanisation, an increase in intense weather events and strong population growth continue to heap more pressure on the bay every year,” he said.
“When you couple that with a worrying lack of community initiative to help protect the bay, we have a serious problem on our hands.
Healthy Land and Water Chief Executive Officer Julie McLellan said South East Queensland’s unique lifestyle depends on healthy waterways and that’s why acting now is so important.
“Mud pollution remains the number one threat to SEQ’s rivers and bays and the good news is that everyone can help each and every day.”
“Whether you’re a homeowner, a farmer or a construction site worker, preventing mud from entering stormwater drains and streams and creeks is the best way to save Moreton Bay.”
To view all the results and more ways you can help, visit the Healthy Land and Water Report Card website at www.hlw.org.au/report-card/