Illegal dumping sours successful clean up event
VOLUNTEERS working hard to clean up Springfield Lakes recently were hit with a blow when their neat and tidy rubbish pile was loaded up with household and industrial waste.
President of Springfield Lakes Nature Care, Luise Manning, said they had a successful Clean up Australia day event on Sunday March 3, but the event was tarnished by illegal dumping.
"We had left the skip tidy for collection, but people came and dumped their rubbish on top," Mrs Manning said.
The skip bin was due for collection on Monday but a mix up meant it was to be collected later in the week.
"My sad moment came on Monday morning, someone or somebodies, dumped more of their household waste all over our tidy site, carpet building waste, their New Zealand removal boxes, their palm fronds, their grass clippings and an Ironing Board.
"By Tuesday morning a tradesman had dumped all his carpet offcuts, underlay and other rubbish all over the CUA day bags.
"I even had another skip delivered on Wednesday and someone came in that day and filled some of that skip with their house hold rubbish."
On Thursday afternoon Mrs manning loaded all the rubbish into the new skip.
"It took me two and a half hours to do that alone. I was furious.
"At 6pm I had some guy walk up and want to dump his cardboard boxes on to my site I said 'no take it to your home or pay to take it to the tip.
"During the night another person came and dumped more rubbish on top."
Thankfully the skip was collected soon after, Mrs Manning said she would still be out there packing rubbish into skip bins if it hadn't been.
Every year SLNC spends a few hours after the event to audit the bags and compile data about the items collected.
"It's a snapshot to show us what areas, have improved and what policies, such as the containers for change scheme and plastic bag ban have had on our environment," Mrs Manning said.
She was shocked when she read the results.
Together the group managed to collect more than 50 bags of rubbish and filled a nine cubic metre skip with rubbish, including old batteries and unwanted furniture, found in bushland reserves.
"It makes me wonder what we are teaching our future generation.
"Whilst the plastic lids might seem a small and insignificant piece of litter, they can cause choking and death to many of our marine creatures and bird life when swallowed.
"The plastic lids don't biodegrade, they just break down into smaller micro-plastics, that can be sucked or swallowed by animals. This is not unintentional litter, this is simply laziness.
"We did notice a decline in plastic shopping Bags."
Only seven were found around Regatta Lake compared to 22 last year.
"Take away food bags were also down from 14 to two and plastic picnic items such as plates cups cutlery had reduced from 19 down to 11.
"This year we collected 46 PET bottles from Discovery and Regatta Lake compared to 37 last year.
"We attributed this increase, to the fact that we had six kayakers on Discovery Lake compared to only one last year.
"These bottles were quite aged by the sun and were covered with algae, showing that they had been in the lake before the containers for change scheme had come into effect.
"We still found the same amount of glass bottles, mostly beer but a few less beer cans, eight compared to 15.
"Plastic Straws had increased from two in 2018 to 18 in 2019, but we still found roughly the same amount of cardboard beverage cups.
"Plastic building bags had reduced from 22 pieces to just two this year.
"And only one polystyrene waffle block was found compared to five waffle blocks last year.
"We are still finding smaller pieces of polystyrene in the lake or that may be trapped inside the drains, 22 pieces were collected compared 78 pieces last year.
"No thongs were found in the lake this year compared to six last year. We had a marked decrease in sporting goods and toys, 21 tennis balls last year compared to two this year."
Huge turn out for CUA event
The fourth annual Springfield Lakes Clean Up Australia Day event was a hit with 70 adults and 96 children taking part.
"This year we had four sites in Greater Springfield," Mrs Manning said.
Springfield Lakes Nature Care (SLNC) members and volunteers, also tackled the bushland reserves in Bellbird Park and litter along Jones Road.
"It was wonderful to see so many clubs getting involved in CUA Day and their small contribution has made a big difference.
"SLNC is the only land and water Care group in our catchment and we need the support of others to help clean up our suburb, which has grown in area and population since we first started doing CUA Day in 2015."
The Centenary Rowing Club President Peter Cooke said he regularly fishes out bread bags, plastic bottles, and other litter from inside the lake.
"Scouts from Camira, Goodna and Redbank Plains, together with Springfield Girl Guides, joined in to help get our suburb clean and tidy again.
"The Redbank Plains Scouts cruised around Regatta Lake in eight canoes, looking for litter that lurked below the surface.
"Several residents paddled around Discovery Lake in their kayaks, finding plastic water bottles, food packaging, straws and pieces of polystyrene. They also found rubbish dumped into the lake, like vacuum cleaners, plastic chairs, tyres and lots of tennis balls. The strangest thing pulled out of the lake was half a kayak.
The Springfield Malayalee Association (SMA) had 49 volunteers, 21 of which were children and teens who cleaned up Creekwood Parklands in Springfield Rise.
Secretary of SMA Byju Jacob said they wanted their children to help so they could understand the effect of irresponsible dumping and how harmful it was on our waterways and animals, as well as encourage children to put their rubbish in bins.
They found plastic building packaging, strapping or off-cuts of waterproofing materials, 20 PET bottles, 15 cans and 37 glass bottles as well as 50 plastic lids, 20 metal bottle caps and 10 disposable nappies on the streets.
After the clean up children were able to touch several species of sea stars and urchins in an ocean life education display.
The children were fascinated with Elly the spotted Epaulette Shark and a jar full of micro-plastics that had been collected from a beach on the Sunshine Coast, showing that plastic just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces before it turns into nanoplastics, which are then ingested by a huge array of marine animals.