Tangalooma Eco Marines at the Healthy Waterways cleanup event

Tangalooma Eco Marines at the Healthy Waterways cleanup event

Not-for-profit organisation, Healthy Waterways, has exposed an alarming trend in the amount of plastic litter, particularly plastic bottles, littering South East Queensland’s waterways.

The latest report from the Healthy Waterways Clean Up Program reveals plastic bottles have been the most common item removed from local waterways for 8 years, representing over 20% of the 250,000 items of waterway litter collected on average per year.

Healthy Waterways Chief Executive Officer, Ms Julie McLellan, said statistics from the recent Healthy Waterways Clean Up Australia Day event at Murarrie further highlight the issue.

“Over 60 volunteers cleaned along the banks of the Brisbane River at Murarrie and collected a staggering 300kg of litter,” Ms McLellan said.

“Plastics were by far the biggest contributor – over 4,000 plastic pieces were collected representing 85% of the litter.”

“Plastic litter is a serious threat – research from the Moreton Bay Research Station shows that up to 30% of turtle deaths in Moreton Bay are caused by the ingestion of plastic litter,” she said.

The Hon. Steven Miles, Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef, who also took part in the Healthy Waterways clean-up event, said plastic in our waterways was a significant threat to aquatic animals and plants.

“Plastic never biodegrades.   It just breaks down into smaller pieces, becoming micro-plastics which are ingested by birds, turtles and other marine life – even coral. This can cause a very slow process of starvation,” Dr Miles said.

“The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection is working with various organisations including Healthy Waterways to help address the issue through initiatives such as the Clean Up Program, clean-up events and proactive behavioural change campaigns,” he said.

To fight against the amount of litter entering our waterways, Healthy Waterways is encouraging the community to pledge to use a reusable water bottle filled with tap water as part of their Love your reusable water bottle campaign. For more information, visit www.healthywaterways.org