One of harbour's biggest polluters not what you'd think

ONE of the big polluters into Gladstone harbour has been nailed in the CBD as being the stormwater drain from Goondoon St. And it's not just plastics.

Marine Debris Researcher at CQ University, Dr Scott Wilson, said an ongoing project had revealed the drain was a big contributor of pollution entering the harbour.

"The stormwater line system is by far the worst in terms of loads going in untreated to the harbour," he said.

"A lot of this is cigarette butts. Over 50 % of the synthetic rubbish is from the butts.

"Out of one rain event, even just 30mm of rain and we are getting between 2000 and 4000 cigarette butts."

Goondoon Street is home to Gladstone's entertainment precinct.

Dr Wilson said the information had been compiled since the study began in 2011 and a stormwater pollutant trap was likely to be built.

He said that in the harbour most of the rubbish and plastics was from storm water and not from industry inputs.

Only about 10% was industry related including items like work gloves, ear plugs, even asset tags.

After four years of research Dr Wilson said very different types of plastics were being washed up on our coastline and in the harbour.

From data collected so far Dr Wilson said a big concern was the amount of fishing- related rubbish that researchers were finding and collecting.

"There is a lot of plastics, nylon items, fishing lines, ropes, patches of nets, which can be particularly harmful to marine life with entanglements or by ingestion," Dr Wilson said.

However, this was different to the coast where he said that a lot of the litter loads could be sourced to coastal shipping as many plastic items are still "fresh" and foreign words on labels easily read.

"They have likely been discarded in local waters from foreign vessels," he said.

Despite concern about the amount of "micro plastics" being uncovered, Dr Wilson said the Gladstone situation was not worsening.

Jodi Jones from Conservation Volunteers said since January its crews collected over 792kg of rubbish.



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