Over 100 young marine ambassadors saw and smelt tonnes of pollution being emptied from a Carrum Downs gross pollution trap. It stops stormwater pollutants washed from our streets reaching Port Phillip.
The experience is part of the Dolphin Research Institute's (DRI) ‘i sea, i care’ School Ambassador Program. Ambassadors are trained as peer educators and go back to their school communities to share their experiences. The goal is to reduce pollutants entering drains and ultimately threatening our marine treasures.
Cleaning these pollution traps is a massive financial burden cost to state and local government-but a bigger cost to the environment if they weren't there.
Jeff Weir, DRI's Executive Director, says that "The Institute is concerned about the link between water quality in the bay and the health of our dolphins. 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".DRI is currently working on a major dolphin health study that is funded by the federal government.
The Banyan Reserve wetlands in Carrum Downs is a world-class example of how to treat stormwater pollution. Litter traps capture the larger pollution.The ponds let sediment settle and the plant life take up many of the soluble pollutants.
In moderate rains the water will be quite clean by the time leaves this site to flow into Port Phillip via Kananook Creek. In big storms it overflows and everything goes to the bay.
Most drains don't have these systems and empty directly into the creeks and rivers that flow to our bays.
"Treatment systems help, when they are present, but the best solution is to stop things getting into drains in the first place", says Jeff Weir.