Tackle leads divers to river's mess
RUBBISH collected from the Tweed River by divers this weekend has highlighted the shocking mess fishing tackle and trolleys create on the river floor.
Volunteers from Byron Underwater Research Group (BURG) lifted 45 trolleys, hundreds of metres worth of fishing line and kilograms of lead sinkers from the river over two weekends.
Simon Hartley, a Southern Cross University lecturer and diving officer in the school of Environmental Science and Management, said in one area - the size of a ping-pong table - 16 kilograms of tackle was found.
“Fishing tackle is a major problem,” Mr Hartley said.
“Every time someone gets a snag, they rip the line off and it usually gets left down there.
“There is a heap of tackle down there and in some places the bottom is basically held together by fishing line.”
Last weekend the BURG diving team set about removing the trolleys from the river.
In July, volunteers mapped the location of trolleys on a GPS and identified the problem areas for dumping.
“Now we know where the hotspots are hopefully Tweed Shire Council and the supermarkets can do something in those areas - like look at how to stop those trolleys getting in the water in the first place,” Mr Hartley said.
“The plastic released into the water as shopping trolleys break down - the environmental cost of producing trolleys, the financial cost to the community from their loss, the risk to swimmers and bathers, and other ongoing environmental problems - all highlight the need for urgent action on this issue,” Mr Hartley said.
Most of the trolleys were found to be adjacent to public jetties and walkways close to the town centre.
A particularly large cluster of dumped trolleys, bicycles and other large items were located along a rock wall between Dry Dock Road and the Boyd's Bay bridge.
“A great deal of resources go into producing shopping trolleys and any efforts that reduce the destruction of trolleys by illegal dumping will have positive environmental benefits,” Mr Hartley said.Reducing river rubbish
•If you see an abandoned trolley near the riverbank, call Trolley Tracker on 1800 641 497. The trolley will be collected so it doesn't end up in the water. You can win $1000 for reporting a trolley.
• When fishing, set your tackle up to avoid snags. Mid-water fishing with floating tackle is a potential solution.