Call for container deposit scheme to stop litter problem

Never ending bottle story: Volunteers keep cleaning up, bottles keep turning up.
Never ending bottle story: Volunteers keep cleaning up, bottles keep turning up.

EVERY time they look at that "awful plastic legacy" clogging the creek, Wolli Creek Preservation Society members lament human carelessness and the fact that there is no container deposit legislation in NSW.

On a recent Saturday, about 17 volunteers donned waders and, working from kayaks and on foot, scoured the accessible edges of the wetland and the nearby riparian bushland.

Co-ordinator Peter Stevens said they hauled out hundreds of plastic bottles, filling up 40 bags to be collected by Canterbury Council.

Mr Stevens said that after Wolli Creek spilled its banks during a massive storm in October, it left behind unsightly litter from numerous stormwater outlets which fed into the creek.

"I am appalled that so many people still fail to realise that the things they casually drop or throw away finish up in our waterways," he said.

"The streets, footpaths and car parks of our suburbs are actually the headwaters of our urban creeks."

He said Wolli Creek's catchment extended out to Roselands, Narwee and Penshurst, so there was a very large population to be reached and also inspired to take responsibility for their rubbish.

"Just de-littering part of your particular street is a contribution to keeping creeks clear of the rubbish we found," Mr Stevens said.

"The rubbish is ugly to look at and endangers wildlife.

"I shudder to think about all the non-floating rubbish that has been swept up into the trees and shrubs along the creek or has sunk to the bottom, out of sight."

Mr Stevens said the common feeling among the volunteers was that this sort of pollution could be stopped at the source by implementing a container deposit scheme as South Australia had done.

In the meantime, the never-ending clean-ups continue and more volunteers are always welcome.

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