Council moves to clean up scourge of waterways

They are the scourge of our waterways. And we are not talking about pest fish or algae or some other pollutant.

Shopping trollies!

Dozens and dozens of them dumped in the Ipswich rivers system. Rusting away and causing a hazard to humans and wildlife.

On the back of recent interest in cleaning up the Bremer River, Ipswich City Council (City Maintenance) in partnership with the Healthy Land and Water Clean-up Program, removed numerous trollies from the river in a joint effort over the past few weeks.

This is above and beyond the normal duties of council staff, but council has recognised the community passion and environmental importance of this kind of work.

Trollies have for some time been an ongoing problem for the Bremer River and are symptomatic of the urban setting, with the Bremer River dividing the town centre and Riverlink Shopping Centre.

In addition, they are highly visible and as this area is regularly visited and seen by foot traffic from the two bridges and Riverheart Parklands, council gets fairly regular complaints from members of the public about them being dumped, dropped off bridges or thrown into the water.

There, they cause issues for local wildlife as well as trapping other litter and debris and break down into hazardous material.

The ugly sight of rusting shopping trollies in the water also has a huge impact on people’s opinions and attitudes to the Bremer River, a council spokesperson said.

“When they see it full of trollies they assume it’s a polluted dirty river with no value or that no one cares about it,” he said.

“ We want the City of Ipswich to embrace and value the river as an asset and the first step in that is making it aesthetically pleasing.

“It’s proven that people are more likely to actively engage (recreation, volunteer) with a local waterway they perceive as healthy. Conversely waterways perceived as polluted attract further degradation and abandonment.”

However, debris within the waterway is not strictly the responsibly of council.

The Queensland Government owns (Crown land) and has responsibility for the water and the bed of the river – but does not have an active program of management outside maintaining safe navigation. As such there is no one picking up litter and debris.

Council has for seven years engaged the Healthy Land and Water Clean-up Program to patrol the navigable reaches of the Bremer and Brisbane rivers, picking up litter and  debris from the water and banks.

Over the years this program has collected many tonnes of litter and rubbish. Officers last year collected 11,426 items of litter within Ipswich, including  about 2,400 bottles, 500 cans and 1900 food packages.

“The program does not normally collect large items like trollies but in response to public requests and in line with Clean Up Australia Day, council engaged the clean-up crew to go out and target these trollies,” the spokesperson said.

“And with the help of our own City Maintenance team, we pulled out nearly 20 rusty shopping trollies from the town reach.

“While council is happy to help out here for the good of the river and the environment, we strongly urge people not to dump litter or trollies or waste into our waterways.”

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