Clause Hengse was happy after the Fraser Coast Regional Council cleaned thousands of plastic bags from the drains behind the Maryborough Refuse Tip.
Clause Hengse was happy after the Fraser Coast Regional Council cleaned thousands of plastic bags from the drains behind the Maryborough Refuse Tip. KARLEILA THOMSEN

Putting paid to plastic problem

CLAUSE Hengse walks his dogs along Neptune Street behind the Maryborough Refuse Tip every morning.

And he has shuddered each morning at the sight of thousands of plastic bags blown from the tip into nearby stormwater drains.

“I’m a lover of the Great Sandy Strait and it’s horrifying to think these bags could end up there if they were not cleaned up before we got some decent rain.”

Mr Hengse raised the problem with the Fraser Coast council and then waited and watched the skies with some trepidation.

On Wednesday, with the bags still in full view, he contacted the Chronicle to raise the plastic alert. Yesterday, when he was joined by a Chronicle journalist to see first-hand the bundle of bags, Mr Hengse was delighted to see some action.

Less than three hours after the Chronicle contacted the council’s media office for a comment on the situation, nearly all the bags had disappeared.

“I’m glad it’s cleaned up but it’s a shame it only happened because of the media,” he said.

“I’ve approached the council once about it but obviously I don’t count.”

The council said the clean-up was not a one-off and workers had a “regular program to manually collect rubbish blown into the drains” and had been doing so this week.

A council spokesperson said earthmoving equipment would be used next week to reshape and clean the drain in preparation for a new gross pollutant trap. “The trap acts as a large net which will filter rubbish from stormwater flowing down the drain.”

PLASTIC NOT-SO FANTASTIC

Australians use around six billion plastic bags each year

An estimated 50 million of those end up as litter

About 430,000 bags are dumped in landfill every hour

More than 100,000 birds, whales, seals and turtles worldwide are killed by plastic rubbish each year



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