Rubbish protection all bay round

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What a dump: Pupils from schools, including Mentone Grammar, above right, witness rubbish being pulled from a stormwater drain at Carrum Downs while an eel, far right, trapped in the dragnet is returned to the dam. Pictures: Gary Sissons

What a dump: Pupils from schools, including Mentone Grammar, above and below, witness rubbish being pulled from a stormwater drain at Carrum Downs while an eel, below right, trapped in the dragnet is returned to the dam. Pictures: Gary Sissons

MORE than 100 young marine ambassadors saw – and smelled – tonnes of pollution emptied from a Carrum Downs gross pollution trap on Tuesday (9 August).

The trap stops stormwater pollutants washed from streets reaching Port Phillip.

The sightseeing and smell smelling experience was part of the Dolphin Research Institute’s ‘i sea, i care’ school ambassador program. Ambassadors are trained by peer educators who go back to schools and share what they have learned.

Pupils are taught ways to reduce pollutants entering drains and threatening Port Phillip’s marine life and fauna.

“The institute is concerned about the link between water quality in the bay and the health of our dolphins,” DRI executive director Jeff Weir said.

“If it’s not safe for us to swim in our bay after rain, then it’s also not safe for our dolphins either. We need to do much better.”

Cleaning out pollution traps costs taxpayers and ratepayers a lot of money via state government and council programs but Mr Weir says there would be a bigger cost to the environment if the traps were not in place.

The Banyan Reserve wetlands in Carrum Downs is a world-class example of how to deal with stormwater pollution. Litter traps capture the large pieces of pollution, ponds let sediment settle and plant life take up many of the soluble pollutants.

“Treatment systems help, when they are present, but the best solution is to stop things getting into drains in the first place,” Mr Weir said.

See dolphinresearch.org.au for further details of stormwater traps around the bay.

First published in the Chelsea Mordialloc Mentone News – 10 August 2016

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