Deal with waste responsibly

Incorrect disposal and illegal dumping of rubbish costs our coast both environmentally and economically, but there are simple steps we can all take to reduce the impact.

Disposal of household waste in public bins, general waste contaminating recycling and illegal rubbish dumping are having a major toll on coastal environments and come at a huge financial coast to local authorities, consuming funds that could be spent elsewhere.

GORCC education activity leader Hilary Bouma and conservation officer Georgie Beale demonstrate responsible recycling.
GORCC education activity leader Hilary Bouma and conservation officer Georgie Beale demonstrate responsible recycling.

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Coastal Reserves Manager Rod Goring said the problem was ongoing, despite work undertaken to encourage responsible rubbish disposal and the provision of recycling and general waste bins across campgrounds and coastal reserves.

“A large amount of household waste is often disposed of in public bins provided for beachgoers.

“Not only is this illegal, but it causes overflow and litter on our beaches is not only visually horrible but threatens coastal flora and fauna and the marine environment.

“Additionally, contamination of recycling is a constant issue, and we urge all coastal users to familiarise themselves with what can and can’t be recycled.

Recyclable materials include glass containers, some plastics, cardboards, paper and metal including steel or aluminum cans.

“Many may not realize that plastic bags, plastic wrap and food containers with food scraps, are not recyclable and cause contamination.

“Our contractors face heavy fines for delivery of non-recyclables to the depot and, unfortunately, some heavily contaminated bins have to be emptied into general waste and sent to landfill,” he said.

Equally concerning is the illegal dumping of rubbish directly onto coastal reserves, with large amounts of hard rubbish being discovered on our coast on a regular basis.

“From pianos and televisions through to paint cans and asbestos, it is unbelievable what people will leave on beautiful beaches that are so highly valued by the community,” said Mr. Goring.

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee Outdoor Works Supervisor, Phil Brown with a piano that was illegally dumped near the Point Impossible nudist beach in Torquay.
Great Ocean Road Coast Committee Outdoor Works Supervisor, Phil Brown with a piano that was illegally dumped near the Point Impossible nudist beach in Torquay.

Waste disposal sites are made available at several coastal locations and allow the drop off of household garbage and a range of recyclable materials.

“All coastal users, including campers, visitors and holiday home owners are encouraged to use these facilities and minimise the amount of rubbish that ends up on the beaches.

“The council also has drop –off collection points for holiday home owners at Torquay, Anglesea and Lorne,” said Mr.Goring

If you notice any illegal rubbish dumping or to report any rubbish or litter contact the GORCC office on 5220 5055, or the Surf Coast Shire on 5261 0600.  Littering from vehicles can be reported to EPA Victoria by calling the Littering Hotline on 1800 372 842 or visiting http://www.epa.vic.gov.au.

This story featured in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast Column.

Visit GORCC’s website for more information on rubbish dumping and local laws and regulations to protect our coast.

Related blog posts:

  107Rubbish dumping still a threat to our coast
dog-on-the-beach

 Top tips to care for the coast

 IMG_0685Illegal rubbish dumping damages sensitive coast
1362014657_KABwhitebackground Keeping beautiful starts with you

Holiday fun on the coast for all

Looking for activities for the kids these school holidays? Perhaps activities that are not only fun but educational and with an environmental message might be just what you are after.

Get out and about and have some fun on the holidays and learn about the environment as well!

There’s so many options for holiday fun on the coast- one example is Parks Victoria’s holiday program – with  activities being held over the school holiday period between 7 July and 14 July at a variety of locations along the Surf Coast and Great Ocean Road (including Pt Addis and Urqharts Bluff) and across Victoria as part of their Junior Ranger program.

Activities include bushwalking and beach discoveries, and are suitable for primary school-aged children and their families.  They also have some DIY activities for both indoors and out.

The Marine Discovery Centre is also running free activities with Rockpool Rambles being held on the coast, find out more here. 

You can have fun and learn about the coast these school holidays either out and about or in the comfort of your own home!

 

If its cold and wintery you can have fun at home on a rainy day using our free printable activities like board games puzzles and brain-teasers that are not only educational but fun for all ages.

If the weather is fine, you could head out and discover the coast, find inspiration for an activity trail and discover the Surf Coast Walk here or explore the wonders of the Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary and Split Point Lighthouse here.

For a comprehensive list of school holiday activities on offer throughout the state visit the Victorian Government’s School Holiday Activities Page here.

Are you getting out and about on the coast these holidays? Share your stories!

Anglesea heath back to its former glory

The coastal reserve above the Anglesea Surf Club has undergone a remarkable environmental transformation, thanks to a five-year project carried out by students and volunteers.

Year nine students from St Bernard’s College and Anglesea Coast Action (ACA) volunteers have spent more than 700 hours restoring the heathland back to its natural state. Students and volunteers met regularly at the site to remove the weeds with loppers and saws.

A big thank you to the St Bernard’s students and volunteers who spent over 700 hours restoring the area above the Anglesea Surf Club.

Why did this site need attention?

The site’s Indigenous vegetation was damaged during the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires and struggled to recover due to the quick regrowth of weeds.

Carl Rayner, secretary of ACA, said only small amounts of biodiversity remained in the reserve when the project began.

“The area has gone from a weed-infested coastal reserve with half a dozen species to a thriving heathland, which is now home to over 110 species of Indigenous plants,” he said.

“The result is amazing and I have never seen a transformation quite like it before.”

Vice president of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet Society for the protection of Flora and Fauna (ANGAIR), Neil Tucker, said the weeding work meant smothered native vegetation was able to germinate again and grow naturally.

“A wonderful variety of native plants have bloomed in the area including orchids, which no one knew were there,” he said.

How do St Bernard’s students give back to the environment? 

St Bernard’s campus director, Mark Smith, said the program taught the students about the need for everyone to take responsibility for the protection and preservation of the natural environment.

“We wanted them to contribute to an ongoing community project that fitted with our theme of environmental awareness – and the project was a perfect fit,” he said.

“The students are all from the city and spend four weeks at the school’s Santa Monica Campus each year. The students have benefited by gaining a better understanding of the coastal environment, especially in terms of learning about what plants are Indigenous and why it is advisable to plant them – and how invasive species have affected the coast and dunes.”

Year 9 student Josh Saliba is one of many St Bernard’s College students who have helped restore Anglesea Heath back to its natural state.

What other benefits have emerged from the project?

Mr Rayner said plenty of positive feedback had been received about the restored site.

“The view from the nearby lookout is magnificent and people have said to me that it’s now arguably one of the best views along the Great Ocean Road.”

The project was made possible through Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, ACA and ANGAIR funding.

Have you seen the coastal reserve above the Anglesea Surf Club recently?

Tell us what you think of the transformation!

Want to get involved in GORCC’s Environmental Education Program for schools? Click here for more information.

Interested in protecting and preserving the coast? Find out more about environmental volunteering on the coast here.

Check out what other local schools have done lately to protect our beautiful coast.

Action and art for conservation

Queens Park blitz a group effort

There’s nothing like the Great Ocean Road

Tourism Australia just released a short YouTube video enticing people to visit the Great Ocean Road and a free App to for holiday makers which they say will ensure “you can see for yourself why There’s Nothing Like Australia”.

Check out the video below and the app on their website  here and let us know what you think of it!

 

This is just one of the amazing views you will see when you drive along the Great Ocean Road.

 

For more of our blogs on visiting the coast, click on one of the following links.

Head out now to look out on our spectacular coast

What’s not to love about the coast in Winter?

Protecting spectacular Point Addis

Stand at Point Addis and look east to Port Phillip Heads in the distance. Gaze west along the coast to the Split Point lighthouse at Aireys Inlet. Look across the southern ocean and glimpse gannets diving or swallows swooping past the cliff face.

Spectacular Point Addis and the Ironbark Basin are fairly new additions to the Great Otway National Park but they have been important to people for thousands of years.

The importance of the area is evidenced by the middens that have been found in the Basin.  Middens are the remains of meals of shellfish once gathered and eaten by Aboriginal people.  These middens show that the Wathaurong people feasted on the sea bounty available here thousands of years ago.

Unfortunately the area’s more recent popularity has put increasing pressure on this fragile but beautiful and diverse environment, already scoured by wind and wave. Some older locals remember driving their cars onto Addiscott beach to go surfing and swimming although fortunately beach access is now only by foot on a new boardwalk and steps.

The work of volunteers in the area has become integral to its wellbeing. The Friends of Point Addis (FOPA) formed around the time that Point Addis became a Marine National Park in late 2002. Under the passionate guidance of Lynne Flakemore, the group embarked on cliff top revegetation, intertidal monitoring of the shore species, film nights and disseminating information to the public.

In the past two years, FOPA have worked closely with Parks Victoria which now manages the Ironbark Basin and Point Addis. Rip Curl and Quicksilver have also given invaluable support to the group.

Working bees have included a ‘Boneseed Blitz in the Basin’, weed eradication, plantings of indigenous species on degraded areas, mulching and fencing to protect against rabbits.

Members have also been on “rock pool rambles” and participated in the Great Victorian Fish Count to assist in monitoring marine species at the Jarosite Reef at the eastern end of Addiscott Beach.

Warning to visitors: stop the spread of Phytophthora cinnamomi!

The group has turned its attention to the dangers posed by Phytophthora or Cinnamon Fungus as it was once commonly referred to.  The FOPA is calling for all visitors to the area to be aware of the damage caused by the Phytophthora which can be spread by walkers and bike-riders. You can avoid the spread of this disease by sticking to the designated track signs and keeping their dogs on a lead.

An invitation to all those passionate about the area:

To get involved, call Bronwyn Spark 5263 2224 or email bronwynspark@gmail.com to register your interest.

This article was published in the Surf Coast Times as part of the publications fortnightly “Going Green Column”.

Next steps to realising our future

The forum generated various ideas for the next steps that could be taken towards realising our future aspirations as coast carers. These ideas could be grouped into four key themes.

In the conversations we have from now onwards, we need to:

  • continue to talk about the BIG questions that we hold and find ways of communicating the key messages simply – with each other and with others (e.g. Why is our work important? What does it matter?)
  • create opportunities for more conversations between our community and the various agencies involved in coast care
  • look for opportunities where people are gathering to talk about related topics (e.g. fire management) and draw links to our purpose and activities, and
  • reframe the language we use when communicating with others (e.g. refer to ‘vegetation’ as ‘habitat’ – see Birds Australia publications for good examples of simple, accessible language).

We also need to use the stories we share as a foundation to:

  • create an ‘interpretive story’ for visitors to experience on the soon-to-be-built Surf Coast Walk
  • set a mission that everyone shares the stories (i.e. what we do and why) with as many people as we can and then invite them to join us in taking action
  • capture and share the great stories that we all know about (and start to actively collect these stories in words, photos and video), and
  • use our broader network to create its own online space that is accessible and simple, and allows local groups to upload and share stories, photos, event details, questions and video.

In the work we do together, we can start to:

  • fund and prioritise ongoing monitoring programs to inform our learning and outcomes
  • make our activities more visible to other people, starting with working bees and other activities on the Great Ocean Road (Note: during the forum, Coast Action/Coastcare provided a sign template that groups could use to promote their activities)
  • start to research and document (e.g. in a story) the extent to which we are ‘winning or losing’ the battle to save key ecosystem species/the war against environmental weed species, and
  • begin looking to the philanthropic sector as a possible funding source for our projects (e.g. www.ourcommunity.com.au).

By networking more we could:

  • find a central point of contact that works across all the agencies (e.g. Coast Action/Coastcare)
  • update our own lists of all current volunteer groups, starting with centralised information sources (e.g. Surf Coast Shire, Great Ocean Road Coast Committee), and
  • make the effort to do more ‘volunteer exchanges’ when doing on-ground works.

If we focus on implementing some or all of these ideas as we talk, share, work together and network, we will move forward together and achieve more on-ground success in caring for the coast!

Who does what where?

The forum provided an opportunity for coastal volunteers to learn more about the roles and responsibilities of the various land managers and government agencies involved in caring for the coast.

COAST ACTION/COASTCARE

Coast Action/Coastcare supports community volunteer groups involved in caring for Victoria’s coast.

This role encompasses:

  • coordinating volunteers for coastal projects
  • funding projects through the Coastcare Victoria Community Grants program
  • providing boundaries for volunteers
  • facilitating volunteer achievements, and
  • communicating and sharing ideas to provide connections between the different volunteer groups, projects and stakeholders.

The agency fulfils an important public education role on several levels:

  • linking coastal management policy to communities
  • helping to find a role for the public in coastal management
  • communicating current coastal-related issues, and
  • educating the broader community (e.g. children, schools, visitors, businesses) about caring for the coast.

Coast Action/Coastcare also contributes to community capacity building by providing various education and training programs for volunteers and the general public. These include occupational health and safety, leadership, first aid, community forums, field days, workshops and the annual Summer by the Sea summer holiday program.

Provided by Matt Fox, State Coordinator, Coast Action/Coastcare

GREAT OCEAN ROAD COAST COMMITTEE

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee manages 37 kilometres of Crown land foreshore reserves along the Great Ocean Road between Point Impossible (east of Torquay) and Cumberland River (west of Lorne).

Its responsibilities as a land manager are focused on looking after these reserves by:

  • protecting the sensitive coastal environment through weed eradication programs and other activities
  • building and maintaining an A to Z of coastal facilities, assets and infrastructure – from artwork to zebra (pedestrian) crossings
  • controlling commercial and other activities on the reserves through the issuing of leases, licences and permits, and
  • contributing to the area’s overall amenity in various ways, such as removing rubbish from beaches and foreshore areas.

The committee also operates caravan parks in Torquay and Lorne, and manages the leases for two other privately operated parks at Anglesea and Cumberland River.

The income generated by the parks funds the committee’s coastal management work with additional income, mainly from State and Federal Government grants, supporting the delivery of various capital works and improvement projects.

Much of the committee’s work is undertaken in partnership with other coastal land managers, State Government and local community volunteer groups who contribute much valuable time and effort to caring for the coast.

Provided by Richard Davies, Chief Executive Officer, Great Ocean Road Coast Committee

PARKS VICTORIA

Parks Victoria is responsible for managing a wide variety of parks in Victoria as well as the recreational management of Port Phillip Bay, Western Port and the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers

Specifically, the estate includes:

  • 45 national parks
  • 13 marine national parks
  • 11 marine sanctuaries
  • 3 wilderness parks
  • 25 state parks
  • 30 metropolitan parks
  • 60 other parks (including regional and reservoir parks)
  • more than 2,000 natural features reserves and conservation reserves
  • 10,412 formally registered Aboriginal cultural heritage sites, and
  • more than 2,500 non-Indigenous historic places.

These assets total more than four million hectares (about 17 per cent of Victoria) – total area of parks and reserves.

As land manager, Parks Victoria’s responsibilities include:

  • preservation of natural eco-systems
  • Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultural heritage protection
  • access and visitor facilities
  • fire management, and
  • education and interpretation.

Funded by the State Government, the organisation comprises locally-based rangers, as well as planners, environmentalists, scientists and managers working at both state and local levels,

Provided by Frank Gleeson, Ranger in Charge – East Otways, Parks Victoria