Collaborative project protecting the Great Barrier Reef from litter

Date published: 1 June 2020

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park has been given an extra layer of protection to stop stray litter making its way into the ocean.

Townsville City Council, in partnership with the Townsville Local Marine Advisory Committee, is stopping litter at its source with 20 new litter baskets installed in stormwater pits around the Townsville CBD.

Townsville Water and Waste Committee Chair Cr Russ Cook said the Litter ID project would catch any stray litter before making its way into the ocean.

“Council has purchased 20 litter baskets from the Clean Water Group, and these have been installed throughout the CBD to stop rubbish from making its way into Ross Creek and the Marine Park,” Cr Cook said.

“The Waterfront Promenade is going to be a key location in Townsville once the stadium reopens and it’s important we can keep this area looking beautiful and free of litter.

“The Ross Creek also harbours significant biodiversity and is a breeding area for many native species, some of which may end up at our dinner table, it’s important we keep the creek healthy and free of rubbish.”

Townsville Local Marine Advisory Committee Chair (TLMAC) Vernon Veitch said that trapping litter is crucial to protecting the oceans and waterways.

“Responsible litter disposal is always the best option, but trapping any loose litter is critical to caring for the ocean and our waterways,” Mr Veitch said.

“The Council funded litter traps are a valuable addition to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation funded litter minimisation project being undertaken by TLMAC members and led by Conservation Volunteers Australia and Council.”

Cr Cook said the litter baskets will also play a role in educating and promoting community involvement in protecting our waterways.

“The litter collected in the baskets will be used for educational community programs using citizen science to determine what Townsville is throwing away and potential sources.

“Later in the year, once COVID restrictions ease, Council will be looking at holding sorting events and inviting schools and the community to participate in the program.”

The first two cycles of litter removal and maintenance of the baskets has been funded by a Great Barrier Reef Foundation Grant.