‘I sea, i care’ Ambassadors from the Mornington Peninsula region made the trip to Narambi Reserve on August 22nd to learn about water testing, and see first-hand the amount of litter and waste that makes its way through drains and into waterways. To start their day, the crew from Melbourne Water was kind enough to meet Ambassadors and demonstrate what’s involved in clearing the numerous litter traps around Melbourne. Emptying the litter traps, the waste that makes its way through the drains could clearly be seen – ranging from milk cartons, cans, plastic bags and balls.
After getting nice and personal with the smelly litter traps, Ambassadors spent some time hearing about how and why water quality is tested. Whether the water looks healthy or not, changes in the water such as pH, phosphate levels and dissolved oxygen can not only have effects on the sensitive macro-invertebrates in any waterway, but also lead to further damage to life in the drains leading to our bays.
In the afternoon, Ambassadors made their way to Schnapper Point, Mornington to enjoy some early spring sunshine, carry out litter audits and discover some citizen science skills. Litter audits enable Ambassadors to explore what types of litter are most prominent and where they are being washed up on our beaches. By carrying out these investigations, Ambassadors also realise the amount of plastic and litter that literally slips through our fingers in terms of its size and camouflage. As with most litter audits carried out on our beaches, most of the plastic pollution and litter we found was picked up after sifting through the sand and realising that a large amount of litter is found below the surface. Unfortunately, as with most environments, not all the litter we see sits on the surface, a huge amount of litter is buried beneath.
Ending on another note, Ambassadors were given the opportunity to try out marine binoculars, using them to pinpoint the location of objects out at sea – a key skill of a citizen scientist. Luckily, Ambassadors were able to use these new skills right away as a pod of bottlenose dolphins was spotted feeding as the dolphins travelled away from the city and towards the mouth of Port Phillip. The timing couldn’t have been better for our Ambassadors and their binoculars, so thank you to the dolphins for sticking to our schedule.
As always, thank you to parents and teachers for bringing our Ambassadors to these workshops. Also, big thanks to Mitch, John, Adam, Tim, Rob and Tom from Melbourne Water who make themselves available to share their knowledge with our Ambassadors.