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Living Lightly column

Clean Up options – we’re spoilt for choice!

By Anne Stelling, Parklands Albury Wodonga

With the outdoors the place to be in these times, local parks, trails and waterways are feeling the increase in use. Unfortunately, Parklands Rangers and our Friends and Landcare volunteers have noticed more rubbish appearing in bush reserves and waterways.

Common items are abandoned takeaway containers and bottles, fishing line, household garbage, and the latest – disposable face masks.

All of these items have potential to pollute land and waterways and injure and kill wildlife. Fishing line, for example, takes about 600 years to break down. Waterbirds, platypus and turtles are easily entangled in discarded line when swimming and diving, suffering severe injury as they struggle to free themselves or dying a cruel death by starvation. Birds sometimes use fishing line as nesting material, resulting in entanglement of both the parents and chicks. The problem is widespread, with untold numbers of animals injured or killed each year.

On the other hand, it’s pretty easy to pick up when you are out walking! Cut into short lengths and securely binned, fishing line is at least not killing wildlife.

If you would like to be more active in caring for the parks and reserves you enjoy regularly, Parklands would welcome local help. Due to Covid19 restrictions through 2020, we have been unable to work with our partner volunteer organisations doing the weekly rubbish runs that keep our popular waterways and swimming holes safe and clean. Parklands can supply reusable bags for anyone happy to help with regular monitoring and rubbish removal from their favourite reserve or swimming hole.

With Clean Up Australia this week, there are also plenty of options to plan a once-a-year special effort. Clean Up Australia’s website has activities from cleaning up a specific site to adopting a street or getting into a ‘Plog-a-thon’, all clearly set out and supported. Registering is a good way to ensure you have the resources and support for even a low-key event at your fingertips. Head to https://www.cleanup.org.au/ to find your clean-up of choice, register your interest and get started.

While Parklands are not running any public events this week, if you would like some suggestions for clean-up sites, or advice on getting organised with your clean-up, our Rangers are happy to help. Please contact us at info@parklands-alburywodonga.org.au