Crap in the Harbour



I received an email last week from Liz Allen asking for volunteers to help haul some black plastic rubbish sacks that had been dumped over the bank beside the road leading down to the Big Omaha wharf. Angie Gibbons had noticed the bags and thought that they needed to be retrieved, stacked beside the road and collected by the council.
It sounded simple enough, some bags, pick them up, stack them, home for a cuppa. I rode my push bike over from Omaha around the Leigh Road on a damp and blustery Saturday morning with mist hanging in the hills and the odd sharp rain shower just to keep a cyclist on his toes. Still it’s always nice to be outdoors and I love a ride along Leigh road even if it is one of those spring days for sitting by the last fire of the season and not collecting some blockhead’s dumped rubbish.

We all, Angie her two kids, Elise Macdonald and I, arrived at the same time down at the wharf. That short tree lined track from Leigh Road to the wharf is only maybe 80 – 100m long and I couldn’t see much rubbish at all. I wondered if someone might have already removed the offending bags. Anyway over the bank we all went….
Once we were down at the water’s edge the volume of rubbish that has been thrown and tipped of the side of the road became apparent and it was embarrassing. Embarrassing because I’m sure all that junk was put there by people local to that beautiful harbour, lazy, uncaring locals. And I’m not talking about the lawn and hedge clippings that are also dumped by the ute and trailer load down there. The really stupid people had dumped automobile engines and containers of used engine oil. Yes we found two car engines one complete with oil filter and a sump full of old oil. You’d definitely get paid by a scrap dealer for these engines. Two 5 litre plastic containers and two 2 litre ice cream tubs full of used engine oil!

Plastic bags by the dozen, aluminium cans, at least 10 glass beer bottles, two plastic coated metal hanging garden baskets complete with chains, lengths of alkathene pipe a couple of plastic sacks full of household rubbish, the whole rear end (axle and dif) from a car, a hallway carpet and untold bits of plastic crap. I hadn’t even seen what the girls had collected on their way to the sack stash.
I arrived up-stream to where Angie and Elise had located the not inconsiderable pile of black plastic sacks.
This pile of 8-10 of those 50ltr sacks looked to have been there for some months and the plastic was deteriorating and the contents spilling out under the mangroves. All the sacks were full of what looks like zeolite and Silicate or hydro silicate. This stuff is a commonly used hydroponic medium and when new is inert and harmless. I guess it was dumped after use and probably contains lots of nutrients that we definitely don’t want in a tidal marine ecosystem. So there is an ignorant local hydroponic grower who needs to stop dumping his or her businesses’ garbage into the harbour.

My ride home was definitely not as uplifting and was punctuated by the unbelievably numerous plastic bottles and aluminium cans lying in the water table beside a country road. Crappy.

But if there was this much crap in such a short section of coastline I’m motivated to go pick up some more now.

Dave Stewart
Saturday 15th October, 2016


  1. Simon R Demler says:

    Disappointing. Please repost this to the Warkworth and Snells facebook page – these groups are quite active and it’s worthwhile calling this out to the wider community.

    I do think the council should rethink the cost of rubbish tips as it might reduce the incentive for this sort of behaviour (not that people should need an incentive but if it makes a difference).

  2. Karen Baird says:

    That’s hugely disappointing – thanks so much for cleaning up everyone! I am also concerned that that hydroponic material if it floats could be mistaken for food my marine birds and fish. I know penguins in particular take in polystyrene balls which can clog up their systems and are a vehicle for contaminants into their bodies.

  3. These people aren’t ignorant – they’re just plain unaware of the effects dumping rubbish have on the environment. Education and pride in our surroundings and community could possibly lessen cases such as these. Good on you all for taking positive action in clearing up the mess.

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