CLEANUP: Bundaberg Regional Council contractor Glenn Rumsey with some of the mountains of rubbish he has collected along the banks of the Burnett River over the past four weeks.
CLEANUP: Bundaberg Regional Council contractor Glenn Rumsey with some of the mountains of rubbish he has collected along the banks of the Burnett River over the past four weeks. Mike Knott BUN021118GLE2

FERAL: Contractor reveals gross truth of Burnett River

THOUSANDS of hunks of rubbish including eight mattresses, four broken toilets, two car batteries and 3500 pieces of plastic have been dragged out of the Burnett River.

The disturbing find comes after local fisherman Glenn Rumsey, 50, spent the past four weeks scouring the riverbank and waterway for debris dumped between Kirbys Wall and the CBD.

Contracted to clean up the 2.5km portion of river by the Bundaberg Regional Council earlier this year, Mr Rumsey is now in his second month of the 12-week job.

Despite the short timeframe, however, Mr Rumsey has already fished out thousands of bits of trash from the Burnett River.

The most shocking of his spoils include roughly 3500 plastic bags and water bottles, 22 crab traps and 10 flat screen TVs.

A further 20 tires, eight mattresses, four fridges and about 15 trolleys were also retrieved from the area.

Mr Rumsey told the NewsMail out of his entire haul, the most unsettling sight in his eyes were the dumped shopping trolleys.

"They're the main problem because they jam up the creeks," he said.

"They fill up with leaves and then block it all up. It's pretty bad.

"Plus I don't know where to dump them. I shouldn't have to be paying for the fuel to get them out and find a place to put them.

"Trolleys and abandoned crab traps are a really bad problem in the river. It's quite dangerous."

Of the dozen crab traps Mr Rumsey has dragged out of the river since starting the clean-up last month, several had dead mud crabs inside of them.

"People just leave the crab traps there when they're done with them," he said.

"And then when fish swim in and get caught, crabs go in there. It's called ghost trapping."

Mr Rumsey's clean-up work began after he contacted the council asking whether his mission could be funded.

"I sent a letter to the environmental section and they liked it," he told the NewsMail.

"It is a pretty good thing to do. There's enough rubbish there to last three months, easy."

Contractor's dirty finds

  • a 200L and a 100L drum
  • a cooler esky
  • PVC and steel pipes
  • an old ferry ramp
  • a bird cage
  • a bed frame
  • wooden planks
  • a table
  • 400 aluminium cans
  • items of clothing
  • some chicken wire
  • a child's cot
  • corrugated iron sheets
  • broken glass
  • an ink printer
  • two chairs
  • house cladding
  • buckets

The Avondale resident said he was keen to keep the program going but would need more funding for that dream to become reality.

"I think if people could see how much garbage I pull out of there, it'd add a bit of worry," Mr Rumsey said.

"Right now it still does a good thing, but I honestly think it needs to be a weekly job throughout the whole year.

"If it's weekly you'd get on top of the pollution and be able to control it."

A spokesperson said council was currently investigating "options for the installation of gross pollutant traps to reduce the amount of rubbish" in the region's waterways.

"These initiatives are part of council's commitment to protecting and preserving the natural environment," they said.

"We're calling on the community to play its part by disposing of rubbish responsibly."



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