Keeping our waterways clean

Keeping Our Waterways Clean

Anyone who paddles on urban waterways regularly will have seen it; the floating plastic bottles, the plastic bags draped from tree branches or multitudes of balls bobbing away in amongst the vegetation.  It’s so common these days that most people now have switched off and don’t really see it any more.

Unless you happen to have kids with you…


Children have this beautiful way of stating the obvious and all to frequently (annoyingly so) making us re-evaluate what is going on in the world around us.  The rubbish in our waterways was just one such example for me.

Being a keen canoe paddler and having pre-teen children (think short attention span), 2 of my most frequented paddling destinations are Bulimba and Tingalpa creeks.  Both of these waterways have several options for easy access and trips of varying durations.  They are within a short drive of our home in the Redlands and have picturesque sheltered waters easily paddled with a boat load of attention-deficit children and pets 🙂

Unfortunately what they also have is an abundance of rubbish…

On our last few paddling outings in between spotting Water Dragons and Brahminy Kites, we have also spotted lots of debris floating past us as we paddle along.  It’s a sad thing to hear an 8 yo ask you, ” hey dad, who throws this stuff in here?”  “Can’t we stop them?”

Good question, unfortunately no…  However we can do something about the rubbish that’s there now.  And, a number of groups have already started doing just that!

A number of canoe clubs in the Brisbane area participate in Cleanup Australia Day, doing an incredible job removing the rubbish from their favourite paddling destinations.  Locally my club, Wynnum Redlands removed a pile of debris from Tingalpa Creek you couldn’t jump over!  They were also involved in the campaign headed by local councillor, Paul Bishop, to remove wrecks from Tilgalpa Creek.  An eyesore that has been there for many years now.  It’s certainly made a difference our local :).


Back to my kids.  They wanted to know what we could do, right here, right now.  The answer was simple enough – carry rubbish bags with us on our paddling trips.  So that’s what we’ve started to do, our last trip yielded 3 big rubbish bags full of balls, bottles and styrene foam.

A big inspiration to us has been local community group The Oarsome Cleanup Crew.  They are a group of local paddlers who, like my kids, are sick of looking at rubbish every time they go out on the water.  Their answer again is blindingly simple; start with your local creek and work from there! You may have seen these guys on the news recently after they found a rifle in Bulimba Creek!


I personally hope it’s a message that gains momentum and like my family others are inspired to take action, even if it’s just to throw a few rubbish bags in the boat on your next paddle.  It’s certainly made a difference to our paddling experience and has got us on the water as family, a real added bonus!


When I say the family by the way, I mean the whole family 🙂


Happy Paddling



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