Activities that we do on land can affect the quality of our water. Our waste often gets washed into our waterways and coasts without any treatment. This waste might be the big bits that you can see like plastic bags, dead animals, dog poo and ciggie butts.
But it’s also the tiny, microscopic toxins that we can’t see. They build up and pollute our water to such an extent that waterways become unlivable for native plants, fish and animals.
The sea has long been a dumping ground for all sorts of things: rubbish, sewage, industrial waste, storm water and dredging. Ever seen those pipes along the coast that run out from the land way out to sea? Well, they’re not there to pump seawater into the land but rather to pump pollution out. You can even see the pollution making great big mucky clouds under the water.
The King River in Tassie is thought to be the most polluted river in Australia. For close to 70 years it was used as a dumping ground for the mining tailings from a nearby copper mine. It’s now so acidic that nothing can live in it, and it’s going to take quite a while before anything can.
It seems to be taking us a long time to catch up with the reality of polluted waterways impacting on our natural world and our own wellbeing. Why are we so slow to learn?