Students take a stand for seabirds

Most seabirds have eaten or will eat plastic. This alarming research, from Chris Wilcox of the CSIRO, indicates seabirds are most likely to become extinct.

Sharp plastics can puncture organs, some birds ingest bottle tops and small plastic fibres can be carried around weakening bird health and contributing to biological changes such as weak egg-shell production.

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Local birds (and their eating) habits have become the focus of Concord High School’s contribution to litter reduction in the Canada Bay area.

Together with Canada Bay Council, students have crafted a powerful and meaningful visual campaign that will be rolled out in the local area. This supports Canada Bay Council’s serious fight against rubbish.

Last week Mayor Angelo Tsirekas announced that litter in Canada Bay hotspots would be reduced by 50 per cent by 2021.

“We conducted an audit of the local government area to determine litter hotspots and found parks have the highest amount of litter with an average count of 63 items, followed by railway stations (56) and car parks (53),” Tsirekas says.

“Cigarettes are the most common litter item and make up 39 percent of all items found. They are followed by paper (13%), plastic bits (9%) and glass beverage containers (8%).”

“We should also remember that the City of Canada Bay local government area is boarded by the Parramatta River and features 38 kilometres of foreshore, making the effects of litter highly visible, primarily due to catchment pollution, and pose a range of threats. Rubbish and pollution are harmful to wildlife and aquatic life, as well as our landscape and water quality. Litter can create fire hazards, attract antisocial behaviour and negatively impact the visual amenity of our City,” Tsirekas said.

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The biodiversity of Parramatta River and some of the species that call it home inspired Concord students to help clean up their local water habitats with a view to sustaining bird life. There are 85 threatened species in the Cumberland subregion.

Water quality from stormwater runoff in high rainfall events transport larger volumes of garbage, sediment, animal waste, sewage, toxic chemicals and oils and grease and pollute our river.

The students embraced the chance to enhance public awareness of litter impact and their designs will soon be seen around high pedestrian traffic areas.

Designs will be installed at drink fountains around the Bay Run in Cabarita Park, Taplin Park in Drummoyne and Peg Peterson Park in Rhodes and are expected to be a more permanent fitting.