Waste swamps wet­land

Not every­one cares for wet­land en­vi­ron­ments in the same way as Field & Game Aus­tralia mem­bers, as a re­cent cleanup at Bail­lieu (Richard­sons) La­goon re­vealed.

Field and Game - - FGA cleans up -

A golden rule when en­joy­ing the Aus­tralian bush is that you should take your rub­bish with you when you go.

How­ever, the prob­lem with rules is that they are never fol­lowed by every­one and are openly flouted by an ig­no­rant mi­nor­ity. It's why il­le­gal dump­ing was given its own cat­e­gory when Keep Aus­tralia Beau­ti­ful re­leased its Na­tional Lit­ter In­dex for 2014–15.

Il­le­gal dump­ing rep­re­sented the largest con­tri­bu­tion to es­ti­mated lit­ter vol­ume found at a range of sites na­tion­ally (1.22 litres per 1000 m2), which makes sense given the long list of dumped items in­cluded chairs, stools, desks, fish tanks, mat­tresses, heaters, tele­vi­sions, VCRS, heaters, print­ers, car­pet, com­puter mon­i­tors, doors, cup­boards, bar­be­cues, aban­doned car parts and bat­ter­ies, shop­ping trol­leys and bags of rub­bish and clothes.

Sadly, il­le­gal dump­ing was abun­dant at Bail­lieu (Richard­sons) La­goon near Gun­bower in Vic­to­ria when FGA mem­bers gath­ered for a clean up prior to the 2016 Duck Sea­son. Tyres, a rear axle and aban­doned tents were part of a 15 cu­bic me­tre haul of rub­bish.

The la­goon is a 120 ha fresh­wa­ter marsh lo­cated on the Mur­ray River flood­plain within a 248 ha State Wildlife Re­serve. A pipe has been put in place to en­able en­vi­ron­men­tal water to be de­liv­ered from the nearby Mur­ray River but it was nat­u­ral flood­ing in 2011 that

flushed an un­wanted flotilla of empty bot­tles into the la­goon.

“It is very dis­ap­point­ing and the fin­ger is of­ten pointed at the hunters but there are many other users of th­ese wet­lands and a lot of it has been washed in as a re­sult of the 2011 floods,” FGA board mem­ber and Bendigo FGA con­ser­va­tion of­fi­cer Mark Daley said. “Most of the stuff we've picked up is bot­tles and many of them are old, they've been washed in from the river.”

Bendigo FGA or­gan­ised the clean up but mem­bers from Echuca-moama, Sey­mour, Gee­long, Kyabram and Wodonga Al­bury also turned up to help.

“It's fan­tas­tic; when there's a call to arms, Field & Game mem­bers are there — whether it is nest boxes, clean­ing up, any con­ser­va­tion work, we are there,” Mr Daley said. “State Game Re­serves were pur­chased with hunters' money many years ago so it is up to us to look af­ter them be­cause there doesn't seem to be any­body else putting up their hand to do it.”

In all, the 26 mem­bers logged 65 hours of volunteer work. Among them was Graeme “Sarge” Saun­ders, 77, who worked tire­lessly bag­ging rub­bish un­til he was forced to rest be­cause of a mis­fir­ing pace­maker. “I al­ways en­joy get­ting out into the bush and en­joy­ing what it has got to of­fer,” Mr Saun­ders said. “I've got my kids and grand­kids do­ing the same thing. “What we've picked up to­day, we could have done with a small tip truck, there's so much of it. It is not at all good for the en­vi­ron­ment.”

Mem­ber for North­ern Vic­to­ria Daniel Young MP (Shoot­ers and Fish­ers Party of Vic­to­ria) joined in the clean up while Vic­to­rian Na­tion­als leader Peter Walsh also dropped in to sup­port the vol­un­teers.

The nat­u­ral beauty of Bail­lieu (Richard­sons) La­goon

FGA mem­bers col­lected 15 cu­bic me­tres of rub­bish

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