Health of waterways get a boost in Logan
19 July 2022
Logan is tackling waste head on, making clear inroads into decreasing the amount of waste ending up as pollution in waterways.
This month Logan City Council Mayor Darren Power, Substation 33 Founder Tony Sharp, and Healthy Land & Water Chief Executive Officer Julie McLellan visited the Logan River to see the difference a range of waste busting initiatives are making on-ground.
Logan City Council has long been a keen supporter of the proactive Clean Up program run by Healthy Land & Water since its inception two decades ago.
The frontline initiative directly combats the impact of marine debris in South East Queensland’s waterways and bay areas. It deploys Clean Up crews to litter hotspots, collecting floating and bank-bound litter from waterways before it can flow out into Quandamooka (Moreton Bay) where it can do untold harm to our marine wildlife and ecosystems.
Mayor Power, Tony Sharp and Julie McLellan were pleased to see firsthand how the number of single-use plastic bottles and cans in the Logan and Albert rivers has been drastically reduced.
Marine debris is one of the most serious threats facing oceans and coastal areas worldwide. According to a 2016 United Nations report, marine debris affects more than 800 animal species and has the potential to cause serious losses to many countries’ economies.
One of the key litter items is single use bottles and in Queensland alone, we go through 2.7 billion single use drink containers every year.
The Logan City Council also works with social enterprise Substation 33 to have clean-up crews collect rubbish along Slacks and Scrubby creeks.
Substation 33’s work dovetails into the State’s container for change program, which comes into the process a step earlier still, giving locals a way of returning the items before they can become litter.
People can return their plastic bottles into special vending machines which provide a refund for the containers inserted.
The containers then feed into their clever local recycling business. Substation 33 specialises in reprocessing these once polluting products into new containers and other products. A Logan-based social enterprise, Substation 33 is actually one of the largest waste processing plants in Queensland.
Healthy Land & Water CEO Julie McLellan says that tackling the issue both after the fact and at the source is having clear environmental wins. She says that her Clean Up crew has been reporting a huge decline in the number of single use plastic bottle litter collected from the Logan River and other regional waterways. The Clean Up program analyses, categorises and reports on all items collected.
“The data collected through the program has been instrumental in providing the evidence base that has driven critical policy change, which in this case, it has resulted in significant positive outcomes for the health of our waterways,” she says.
She also commends the local employment opportunities it is creating in Logan.
Substation 33 Founder Tony Sharp says six employment opportunities have already been created in the Logan community, with many more expected as the project scales up.
“With 3.5 million containers processed through Substation 33 since March, I’m seeing the positive impacts Substation 33 has had on our community firsthand,” he says.
Logan City Council Mayor Darren Power is a keen advocate of the proactive initiative, saying it has clear wins for his community – socially, environmentally and economically.
The health of the river is also benefitting from the program, he says.
“Council understands the importance of dedicated and ongoing clean-ups across our waterways and natural areas,”
“The benefits, both for the waterways and our city, are obvious.”
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This project is supported by Healthy Land & Water, through funding from the Australian Government’s Environment Restoration Fund.
This project is co-funded by Brisbane City Council, Ipswich City Council, Logan City Council, Moreton Bay Regional Council, the Queensland Government and Australian Government.
- New research by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, shows Australian coastal plastic pollution has decreased by 29%, as part of a broader project assessing waste reduction efforts. CSIRO said the results showed what could be achieved with a Team Australia approach.
Healthy Land & Water’s Clean Up program
- Once waste has been collected, we analyse and categorise it to better understand how, why and when litter is entering our waterways. Healthy Land & Water now has an extensive dataset spanning over 20 years used to inform source reduction initiatives to stop litter at the source.
- Data collected through the Clean Up program has been instrumental in government policy change to drive the mitigation and removal of key pollutants from waterways, including plastic bags, polystyrene and single use plastic bottles.
Caption: Quincy Kelly, Tony Sharp, Mayor Power, Patrick Hinds, Cody Moore, Nick Burger and Julie McLellan checking out a pile of waste collected that morning