Tragedy sparks clean-up
THE horrific experience of witnessing a duck strangled to death by a plastic ring at the South Perth foreshore led Veronica McPhail to take action.
The amateur photographer was taking pictures at the foreshore last month when she realised one of the blue-billed ducks she captured on camera had a plastic ring with a hook caught around its neck.
Ms McPhail rushed back to the river with a friend from BirdLife WA to rescue the duck but it had died by the time they got there.
“I was horrified,” she said. “One of the neighbours, who lived nearby, waded in the water to get the dead bird out so we could make sure what it actually was around its neck.
“Unfortunately, down at the river it’s quite common practice to see things like that.
“It’s very sad because the lakes on the foreshore are teaming with wildlife, but unfortunately people picnic there too and leave rubbish behind.”
The Kensington resident, who recently holidayed in the north of England, said she had seen a ‘2 Minute Beach Clean’ board designed to prompt people to pick up litter along the waterways.
Ms McPhail said there was a huge movement in the UK, with 460 boards along the coastline and in Ireland where rubbish bags and grabbers were available for public use.
With the idea of bringing the movement to Perth, Ms McPhail partnered with Jason Menzies from River Guardians to place a ‘Clean our Rivers’ board at Funcats Watersports near the Coode Street Jetty.
“It is a very simple concept and allows for spontaneity; anybody at any time can carry out a litter pick-up,” she said. “It’s an alternative way to picking up litter, not a replacement for organised clean-ups.
“Hopefully it will be something that people will revisit and apply the principles elsewhere – making a difference two minutes at a time.”
Clean-up litter notice: Birdlife WA’s Lesley Macauley with River Guardians, manager Jason Menzies, resident Veronica McPhail, City of Perth natural resource management officer Kaija Antipas and Andrew and Jane Partington, the owners of Funcat Watersports.