Environment

‘Drain Buddies’ at work in Batemans Bay, protecting local waterways

Ian Campbell 27 January 2019
Drain Buddies have been installed in 10 storm water drains in the Batemans Bay CBD to catch street waste before it heads out to the estuary and ultimately becomes marine debris. Photo: ESC.

Drain Buddies have been installed in 10 stormwater drains in the Batemans Bay CBD to catch street waste before it heads out to the estuary and ultimately becomes marine debris. Photo: ESC.

‘Drain Buddies’ are at work in the Eurobodalla’s famous waterways this summer launching another attack in the region’s ‘War on Waste’.

Eurobodalla Shire Council installed the litter-catching baskets in stormwater drains around the Batemans Bay CBD prior to Christmas.

Litter dropped on roadsides, pathways and in gutters commonly ends up in the stormwater system, which is discharged into local estuaries and the ocean. The 10 newly installed Drain Buddies are now catching that garbage, stopping it from choking the marine environment.

Council’s Environmental Education Officer, Bernadette Davis says, “Already we’re seeing plastic ice cream spoons, straws, cigarette butts and plastic packaging catch in the Drain Buddies – things that are easily windblown or carried along in heavy rain.”

“Because we’re recording the data, this is an opportunity to make people aware of what types of litter end up in our estuaries and oceans.”

Council will monitor and empty the baskets and record what’s caught on the Australian Marine Debris Database as part of the regular works schedule.

Marine debris | Be part of the solution

Litter + storm = marine debris. We've installed litter-catching baskets in 10 Batemans Bay CBD stormwater drains as a trial to help prevent marine debris. We're already seeing loads of cigarette butts, plastic ice cream spoons, straws and plastic packaging caught – all now prevented from entering our ocean. 🌊

Posted by Eurobodalla Shire Council on Thursday, 17 January 2019

According to Tangaroa Blue, more than 7 million tonnes of plastic litter enters the ocean every year and in Australian waters alone, there is anything from a few thousand to more than 40,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometre.

“The best option is to say no to single-use items, question if you really need it,” Ms Davis says.

“If it’s unavoidable, put it in the bin when you’ve finished with it, or in the recycling bin if it can be recycled.

“By keeping the land clean and picking up rubbish when you go for a walk on the beach, in the park, in your neighbourhood or along waterways, you help keep the ocean clean too.”

The Shire’s other commercial centres, Moruya and Narooma, already have similar litter and pollutant traps in place. If the current trial in the Batemans Bay CBD is successful then Drain Buddies could also be rolled out in Batehaven where the data suggests a problem exists.

While protecting the environment, the baskets are designed to cope and deal with storm and flooding events.

“The drain buddy can’t overflow. They are designed to allow excess water to get past,” Ms Davis says.

Dirty work! Environmental Education Officer, Bernadette Davis logs the number of cigarette butts caught in the Drain Buddies on the Australian Marine Debris Database smartphone app. Photo: ESC.

Dirty work! Environmental Education Officer, Bernadette Davis logs the number of cigarette butts caught in the Drain Buddies on the Australian Marine Debris Database smartphone app. Photo: ESC.

Littering is an offence that attracts fines up to $500. To report littering from vehicles visit the Hey Tosser website or call the NSW Environment Protection Authority hotline on 131 555.

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