The Throsby Creek mangroves in Carrington have long been an environmental problem area. Much of the litter dropped in the Throsby catchment area ends up there, causing harm to the plants and animals that live in the mangroves. It also leaves an unsightly mess.
Initiatives to alleviate the problem include:
- Two litter traps have been installed in the creek, upstream from the river mouth, by Hunter Water. Approximately 10 cubic metres of litter is collected from each trap every month, but much litter bypasses the traps and continues on to Carrington.
- Clean-ups are held each year on Clean Up Australia Day and also on an ad-hoc basis. These are conducted by Newcastle City Council, local interest groups and community groups.
- Litter education campaigns. Most people know the right thing to do with their rubbish, but littering behaviour is an ongoing problem. The EPA NSW Litter Prevention Kit provides information on the core factors (and excuses) that influence people to litter.
Cottage Creek Marine Debris Video Challenge
Research into littering behaviour has shown that people may be less likely to litter when they understand how and where their litter ends up.
To educate high school students in the Throsby Creek catchment area about the impact of littering, Hunter Local Land Services and Newcastle City Council, with funding from the NSW EPA Better Waste and Recycling Fund, developed the Marine Debris Video Challenge.
The challenge first ran in 2015, when classes from six high schools in the Throsby catchment area were taken to the Carrington mangroves to investigate the problem and collect litter data from the area. They were also given a presentation about why this litter is such a problem for our environment. Particular focus areas included single-use plastics (such as shopping bags and drinking straws) and microbeads
(tiny spheres of plastic widely used as exfoliating agents in personal care products, such as toothpaste and facial scrubs).
Students were then asked to create a 20 second advertisement to share what they had learned about the problem. These clips were uploaded to YouTube and promoted. The three videos with the most views were judged and the winning video was screened on NBN Television.
This project is a NSW EPA Waste Less, Recycle More initiative funded from the waste levy.