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3 - Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Wanton littering pollutes scenic area
University of Canberra Senior Secondary College student Hanna Gardiner, 16, stencils a message on
a stormwater drain stating it runs into the Lake Ginninderra catchment wetlands. Photo: Matt Bedford
After thousands of plastic bottles
were discovered in Ginninderra
gorge, a Canberra group has
embarked on a stormwater drain
stencilling program to raise
awareness about littering.
Authority co-ordinator Damon
Cusack said a recent trip to test
waterways near the picturesque
Ginninderra Falls revealed big
clusters of plastic bottles.
"We were doing a survey on the
bugs that live in the water to give us
an idea of what the water is like to
live in," he said.
"All of the high water areas were
covered in plastic bottles."
He estimated there were
hundreds of bottles at each of the 10
sites where they did testing.
"There were thousands of bottles
through the gorge area," Mr Cusack
said. "We see it a lot in our urban
waterways so I wasn't terribly
I probably was a bit surprised to
see so many though.''
A stencilling program will get
under way leading into Clean Up
Australia Day on March 1.
Mr Cusack said the group would
work with high school and college
students to spray anti-litter slogans
above stormwater drains.
"It is a public awareness raising
campaign to let people know that
all of the drains are linked and
effectively everywhere they drop a
bit of plastic ends up in our
wetlands and our rivers," he said.
"If we can get people to avoid
throwing things down the drain
then that is a good result." The
volume of rubbish flowing into
Canberra lakes and waterways has
been an ongoing issue -- floating
plastics and parking tickets are two
of the most common items.
"Our stormwater systems don't
do a great job dealing with floating
plastics,'' Mr Cusack said.
"Our gross pollutant traps hold
them for a little while until we get
a high-water event and then they
"They are not really designed for
trapping most of the floating
He said he would like to see the
ACT government adopt a container
deposit scheme where people
received 10¢ per plastic or glass
bottle they collected.
Environment Minister Simon
Corbell said, in January, the ACT
had always supported a container
deposit scheme in principle and if
NSW moved to adopt one, that
would be the trigger needed in
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