The Healthy Land and Water Clean Up Program has discovered a large litter ‘hot spot’ in the mangroves at Indooroopilly stretching more than 200m along the river. Thousands of pieces of litter, some with dates on them from 2004, can be found at this site.
Through funding received from the Australian Government and the Brisbane City Council, clean-up at this site started on 9 July 2020 as part of the Healthy Land and Water Clean Up Program that removes litter from the Brisbane River.
This new litter hot spot area in Indooroopilly has recently been discovered as a direct result of the program receiving additional funding from the Australian Government. The additional funding has enabled the crew of the Clean Up Program to expand their range and discover this site. Funding from the Brisbane City Council will allow for the clean-up of this site.
Through the Clean Up Program, litter is collected from the Brisbane River and several other waterways across the region. An estimated 250,000 pieces of litter are removed from South East Queensland (SEQ) waterways through the program annually. This amounts to over 800 wheelie bins a year of mainly lightweight, plastic rubbish. This equates to 14 years’ worth of an average family’s weekly rubbish collected each year from these waterways.
Over the past 21 years the Clean Up Program has been focused on cleaning up the rivers and waterways of South East Queensland. The Program now spends most of its efforts on addressing and cleaning the sites where large concentrations of litter is found.
Almost all the litter collected by the Clean Up Program is directly linked to a land-based source. If not cleaned up, these litter hotspots build up rubbish and debris which is flushed out into the marine environment during heavy rainfall and floods. This litter is picked up from the streets by stormwater drains and delivered to our waterways and Moreton Bay, causing considerable impacts to wildlife and ecosystems.
“South East Queensland waterways add value to the region’s economy through tourism, recreation, drinking water supply and fishing. We are pleased to be partnering with the Australian Government and Brisbane City Council to ensure this resource is protected by removing litter from the system and preventing it from entering Moreton Bay,” said Julie McLellan, CEO of Healthy Land and Water.
Research from the Moreton Bay Research Station shows that over 30% of mortality rates of endangered sea turtles in Moreton Bay is attributed to the ingestion of marine debris.
“I am really proud to be a part of a Government providing more funding to clean up the Brisbane River,” said Member for Brisbane Trevor Evans MP. “The Brisbane River catchment and the beautiful Moreton Bay is our most significant environmental asset, and we can all play a part in taking practical action to preserve it for future generations,” he said.
The Clean Up Program supports research that shows removing waterway litter around dense coastal economic and population centres is the most efficient and economically viable method of removal.
According to Brisbane City Council’s Environment, Parks and Sustainability Chair, Cr Fiona Cunningham, “Council’s partnership with Healthy Land and Water helps improve the health of our waterways and the aquatic wildlife that live in them”.
“Council has been fighting this war against river rubbish by partnering with HLW for more than 20 years, and we’ve invested $440,000 annually into their programs, including $30,000 a year to its Clean Up Program.
“It is in addition to other Council initiatives that help water quality of our waterways, water quality monitoring, natural channel design, creek rehabilitation works, and by working with the community through the Community Conservation Partnership Program,” she said.
The Clean Up program, now in its 20th year has long been supported by Brisbane City Council and other Local Governments. In the past few years its been exciting to have the Federal Government join the cause through the Environmental Restoration Fund.