NEW solutions are needed to reduce the amount of litter in Patterson River, a Kingston councillor says.
Kingston Council first voted to look into the possibility of a heavy-duty litter trap upstream on Patterson River in late 2020. Nearly two years on, the litter trap has not been implemented.
Kingston councillor Cameron Howe says that investment into litter reduction in the river is badly needed. “We need to turn the tide on plastic pollution with a replacement heavy-duty litter trap, which is an essential step to maintaining healthy waterways, collecting plastics upstream on Patterson River before they hit our popular bay beaches,” he said. “Images of enough plastic bottles to fill a backyard pool collecting on the river’s shoreline, have become the ire of the community and demonstrate that it is irresponsible not to fund this overdue solution”.
Current litter collection methods in Patterson River include gross pollutant traps, grills, and grates.
Patterson River is owned by Melbourne Water. A spokesperson from Melbourne Water said the best way to address the pollution problem is to “prevent littering at the source”.
“The Patterson River is at the end of a very large catchment system, and as such receives stormwater – and all the litter carried by stormwater – from all areas connected to the Dandenong Creek and Eumemmerring Creek and their tributaries. The area covers significant proportions of the cities of Casey, Greater Dandenong and Kingston, as well as Knox Council. Upwards of 90 per cent of the litter found at the end of stormwater systems like this one come from the streets of our suburbs,” the spokesperson said. “We are investigating the potential benefit of a litter trap within the broader Patterson River, Dandenong Creek and Eumemmerring Creek system as part of a range of actions by the Lower Dandenong Creek Litter Collaboration that address better management of litter at source.”
The Lower Dandenong Litter Collaboration is a partnership between Melbourne Water, Kingston, Greater Dandenong, and Casey councils, the EPA, and Parks Victoria. Melbourne Water says that through that initiative, an action plan is being developed “which does identify several priority asset and non-asset based interventions, recognising that litter management is a shared responsibility – including with the community – and working on the principle that preventing litter entering the stormwater system is more effective than cleaning up at the end of the system.”
Kingston Council wrote to Carrum MP Sonya Kilkenny in June last year asking for the state government to stump up the cash for a new litter trap. Kilkenny did not respond to questions from The News asking her thoughts on the proposal.
In April this year, Kingston Council once again called for state government investment into Patterson River (“Funding wanted to fix urgent issues at Patterson River” The News 20/4/2022). In May the state government committed to spending $3 million on upgrades at the upper precinct, which encompasses the National Water Sports Centre in Bangholme, and $3.5 million on the Launching Way area.