Paddlers pick up river trash

By Ashlea Witoslawski

A special clean-up team hit the Goulburn River on April 7 hoping to reinvigorate the waterways and native surrounds.

RiverConnect was joined by members of Shepparton Canoe Club at Kaieltheban Park in Mooroopna before travelling downstream to Dainton’s Bridge, picking up rubbish along the way.

After a few hours, the paddlers and their craft arrived at the bridge, hauling vast amounts on their canoes, including tyres and large bags filled with smaller items, plucked from the river and its banks.

Veolia depot manager John Lewis, his five-year-old son Charlie and colleague Anthony Mumby, met the travellers at Dainton’s Bridge, helping to collect the rubbish and place it in a 15-cubic-metre bin.

As Mr Lewis waited for the canoeists to arrive, he and Charlie took to the water in his own boat, collecting rubbish in the nearby area and checking the group was safe.

Mr Lewis said having the manpower helped to clear a lot of rubbish, but there was still much work to be done.

‘‘The amount of rubbish is having an impact on the local river,’’ Mr Lewis said.

As a keen fisherman, Mr Lewis said it was disappointing to see the amount of rubbish on the banks and in the water of the Goulburn River.

‘‘I fish everywhere and this is worse than most rivers that I see,’’ he said.

‘‘We have healthy fisheries here at the moment, but if we don’t maintain it, it won’t last.’’

Shepparton Canoe Club president Barry Bell pulled up to the bank carrying a number of dumped tyres on his canoe.

‘‘We’ve got a pretty good haul,’’ Mr Bell said.

‘‘It’s been an absolutely beautiful day for it, too.’’

Mr Bell hopes to encourage community members to avoid throwing rubbish in the river, and for all visitors to take their rubbish with them when they leave.

‘‘Just follow the old ‘if you bring it in, you take it out’,’’ he said.

Unable to carry all rubbish on the canoes, extra rubbish was piled onto the banks to be picked up by a Veolia representative today.

Shepparton Canoe Club and Veolia representatives said they would be interested in taking part in another Goulburn River clean-up event in the future.

A total of 830kg of rubbish was collected during the three-hour clean-up, including four tyres, two shopping trolleys, reels of fishing line, bottles and bags, broken camping equipment, a couple of full outfits of clothing, a bike and a pillow.