“Nearly none!” Plastic bottles disappearing from NSW waterways

Community volunteers collecting litter in the Hawkesbury River with Clean4Shore’s Floating Landcare program.

The New South Wales Government’s effort to reduce plastic pollution through the container deposit scheme appears to be making a dent in the issue, according to Central Coast-based Graham Johnson of the Coastcare group Clean4Shore.

“It’s the nation and our world’s obsession with plastic and polystyrene foam that got Clean4Shore into action,” Graham said.

He says that action seems to be paying off with the help of the ‘Return and Earn’ initiative that the Government began rolling out last year, where beverage containers can be returned at a collection point for a 10-cent refund. He also commended the plastic bag ban at Woolworths, Coles and a variety of other retailers that was implemented earlier this year when they banned single-use plastic bags from all their stores.

“The politicians are chasing me now to see how many new plastic bottles are in the water,” Graham said. “I’m telling them nearly none, which is a great effort!”

Clean4Shore won the esteemed People’s Choice Award at the National Landcare Awards in Brisbane in October, for their efforts in cleaning up the coastlines.

“Overall, to recognize litter and the management of litter in our waterways is a great contribution from us, but more-so we recognise the efforts of the Landcare groups,” Graham said in his acceptance speech at the National Landcare Awards.

Graham Johnson from Clean4Shore accepted the 2018 National Landcare Awards People’s Choice Award on behalf of his group.

Clean4shore has joined forces with Landcare to promote Floating Landcare, a program that provides community volunteers with a unique wilderness land management experience, in the Hawkesbury River and Brisbane Water.

Landcare Australia chief executive officer Dr Shane Norrish praised Clean4Shore for being chosen by the Australian public from among the 65 finalists, and acknowledged their invaluable work.

“The People’s Choice Award winner shows who in the Landcare community has made the biggest impression on the Australian public,” Shane said. “It is a huge honour to win, and I’m pleased to see it go to such a deserving group. Clean4Shore serves as an inspiration to the thousands of Landcare and Coastcare volunteers all over the country.”

Clean4Shore leads up to 70 field trips a year, engaging the community, schools, disabled, indigenous and business groups in the removal of plastic and polystyrene around the Hawkesbury River, Brisbane Water and Tuggerah Lakes in NSW. Volunteer groups led by Clean4Shore remove garbage from waterways, while simultaneously educating themselves about the Central Coast’s foreshores and mangroves.

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