Bringing hope to the masses

23/06/2013

What, ladies and gentlemen, is this?

OCCI_water-bomb

Is it: (a) an hilarious toy; (b) a potential death trap for a sea turtle;  (c) a piece of soft, fabric-based marine pollution; or (d) all of the above? Yes. Whatever. It’s part of that thing, an “environmental problem”

The problem with the “environmental problem” is that (unlike the water bomb) it’s so bloody big. And not only is it absolutely humungous, there’s the horrible and distressing knowledge that much of it could be solved in an instant if only THE IDIOTS would listen to us. It’s enough to make you swoon into a funk.

So after you’ve shouted at the internet or the telly because some amalgam of global corporations have once again stomped all over the community’s wishes for <consumer deposit legislation / better urban planning / insert whatever appropriate cause> then it’s useful to gather yourself up and head towards the nearest group of likeminded folk.

This weekend I went to Tighes Hill Public School to learn how to identify litter. No, seriously. Because this is a serious business. The Ocean and Community Care Initiative (OCCI) hosted the morning, supported by the HCRCMA, and introduced about 15 of us to the concept of litter logging. Here we all are, ready to go by the Carrington mangroves.

OCCI_preparing

Litter logging is a system that’s been developed by Tangaroa Blue to quantify the crap, which in our world of bean counters and accountability is a necessary way of countering the arguments that global packaging corporations use to sidestep responsibility for the state of our oceans and waterways. So they gave us bags and gloves and “slates” – rewritable boards with all the different types of litter listed on them. Then, every time we picked up a piece of litter, we logged it on the slate. Every cigarette butt, foam bead, torn piece of plastic wrapping, syringe, water bomb …

Holy Mother of God!!!!

Here’s the editor the OCCI newsletter, about to go insane after logging his 13,915th Minty wrapper before chucking it in the dirt bag.

OCCI_Simon

After 50 minutes we’d picked up, logged and bagged about 50+ kilos of stuff. On recent beach walks these heroes gathered and logged over 500 kilos of rubbish over a 6 km stretch. All the data then goes off to Tangaroa Blue and is entered into their online database. And then we send it off to The Man. In your face, neocapitalist pigs!

OCCI_group

It’s one of those tasks that seems just too brain-sappingly large to contemplate, but I know that it has a purpose. And a good one at that. So I’m getting me a kit for the Styx and I’m going to start logging the crap that comes bobbing down the beck. Now, was that water bomb a piece of soft, fabric-based marine pollution, an hilarious toy or a foam death trap?

Advertisements

News flash

18/06/2013

This Saturday, the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority is having a day at Tighes Hill Public School to train people in identifying marine debris. I’ve seen a flyer, but can’t find it on line, but here’s the words:

Residents of the lower Throsby Creek catchment regularly see litter building up among the mangroves along the creek, particularly at Smedmore Cove on the Carrington side of the Hannell St bridge. While the mangroves trap the litter here temporarily, the  tides dislodge it and carry it out to sea, where it endangers the lives of sea birds, turtles and other marine  life.
The Lake Macquarie-Newcastle arm of Ocean & Coastal Care Initiatives (OCCI) have been invited to train interested residents in collecting and surveying litter that has gathered in the Throsby Creek catchment and assist them in adding their findings to a national database as  part of the Australian Marine Debris Initiative.
By doing this we’ll not only be improving the amenity of  natural areas in our neighbourhood, and potentially  saving the lives of marine animals, we’ll also be contributing to a national picture of marine debris on our  coasts and building a case for action from manufacturers and retailers of the products regularly found in our  waterways.

The training is this Saturday, 22 June 2013, from 9.00 am – 1.30 pm. Venue is Tighes Hill Public School; morning tea and lunch provided.

If you’re interested, contact Ingrid on 0405 761 593 or email <lake.macquarie.newcastle@occi.org.au>.

I’ll be there. Might see you too!