Sale’s ‘Lake Garbage’

Litter at Lake Guthridge is making it hard for the waterbirds to rear their young.

Litter at Lake Guthridge is making it hard for the waterbirds to rear their young.

A MAJOR clean up of litter at Lake Guthridge will be carried out in the next fortnight to remove a large build-up of unsightly rubbish.

The rubbish, which mostly comes from the stormwater system, has accumulated over recent months, creating havoc for nesting waterbirds.

Wellington Shire Council’s attempts to mitigate rubbish problems in the lake by increasing street sweeping in Sale CBD and Guthridge Parade have made some impact, but there are concerns the rubbish is creating an environmental hazard.

But the council won’t be installing litter traps at Lake Guthridge after a trial found most of the matter finding its way into the lake is “natural debris”.

The council recently conducted a trial using steel cages on two drainage pipes, but decided against installing litter traps after finding the traps mainly filled with leaves and natural debris, rather than litter.

Sale resident Jessica Kerr said she was horrified at the amount of rubbish in the lake, with baby waterbirds struggling to swim without getting caught in rubbish.

Ms Kerr said she and her young children visited the lake recently and couldn’t believe the amount of waste.

“It’s sad seeing the baby birds having to swim with dumped rubbish,” she said.

“Even my four and six-year-old were horrified, saying ‘mummy, naughty people put rubbish there they should have put it in the bin.”

The council’s natural environment and parks manager Tim Rowe said the council wanted to remind everyone using the lake and surrounding recreational areas to take their rubbish away, or dispose of it responsibly in a bin.

Mr Rowe said the council employs a contractor to clean the lake of rubbish five to six times per year, with the major clean of the entire lake taking place usually in October. This year however this major clean has been delayed because of poor weather and will now take place within the next fortnight. 

“Wellington Shire Council consistently monitors the health of lakes Guthridge and Guyatt,” he said. 

“We also have a cleaning schedule for the lake, which includes an annual major clean of the entire lake which is scheduled to take place in the next fortnight, weather permitting. 

“We have found that with regular street sweeping, we have been able to prevent a lot of litter from entering the stormwater system and ending up in the lake.” 

Some of the litter clearly visible from the banks includes margarine containers, plastic bottles, cans, chip packets and plastic lids.

Gippsland Senior
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