Litter baskets go down the drain

Inventor Bob May, Jan Maddin from the Coolum Area Parks Society and councillor Vivien Griffin inspect one of the litter baskets. Photo: Mike Garry/scw1492
Inventor Bob May, Jan Maddin from the Coolum Area Parks Society and councillor Vivien Griffin inspect one of the litter baskets. Photo: Mike Garry/scw1492

A partnership between a proactive community group, a Coolum inventor and the Sunshine Coast council is protecting and improving the water quality of Stumers Creek.

The Coolum Area Parks Society has installed 35 of Bob May’s ingenious Hot Spot Gully Traps within the stormwater network of the Coolum CBD.

These litter baskets have been shown to catch nearly 98% of plastics, paper, cartons, cigarette butts and organic material, as well as 40% of sediments, including hydrocarbons, which are washed into the drains when it rains.

CAPS spokeswoman Jan Maddin said it was hoped the project would help Stumers Creek improve on its present C-grade water quality rating.

“It’s all about protecting the water quality of Stumers Creek,” Ms Maddin said.

“By installing these litter baskets, we hope to capture tonnes and tonnes of pollutants that would otherwise end in Stumers Creek.”

The baskets have been placed in busy council-owned areas identified as “hot spots”, including the Tickle Park and civic centre car parks, the esplanade, Birtwill Street and Heathfield, South Coolum, Beach and School roads

Litter baskets have also been installed at the junction of Beach Road and the David Low Way to capture pollutants which would otherwise end up in the stormwater net on Coolum’s main beach.

For the first year, Bob May’s company, Cleanwater Constructions, which has installed similar systems along the east coast, will monitor the litter baskets quarterly and provide a detailed report on the contents captured.

After that the council will take over the ongoing maintenance.

CAPS will use the project to encourage local businesses to install litter baskets on privately owned land and as an educational resource where it could be incorporated in an environmental study for school students.

Ms Maddin said the project was possible because of an $18,550 grant from the federal government’s Caring for Our Country scheme.

“We had a catchment management plan developed a few years ago and this is one of the high-priority management actions that, as a group, we feel we can initiate,” Ms Maddin said.

Sunshine Coast councillor Vivien Griffin said the project met the council’s vision of sustainability.

“It’s a really well thought through project from beginning to end,” Ms Griffin said.

“They’ve got a catchment management plan, and then the follow through on analysing the rubbish from the traps – it’s a brilliant project.”

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