Sapphire Coast's summer popularity brings added work for waste services

Bermagui Preschool children and Dorte Planert join in a recent beach clean-up with Our Coast Our Mission.
Bermagui Preschool children and Dorte Planert join in a recent beach clean-up with Our Coast Our Mission.

The amount of waste created across the Bega Valley Shire doubles during December and January, unsurprisingly given the popularity of the region for tourists.

More than 100 tonnes of rubbish was lifted by the Bega Valley Shire Council waste services team in December 2016 and January 2017 (40 and 64 tonnes respectively).

This is a similar amount to that collected over the four months prior, where 27 (Aug), 31 (Sep), 26 (Oct) and 32 (Nov) tonnes were lifted – 116 tonnes total.

According to details supplied by the council, there are approximately 540 litter bins across the shire. Some get emptied daily, some twice weekly and some weekly.

However, that regularity increases over the summer break to cope with the influx of visitors. In January, more than 12,000 separate bin pick-ups were carried out across the shire.

Council-supplied statistics on last financial year's public litter bin collections.

Council-supplied statistics on last financial year's public litter bin collections.

Council said Cleanaway empties public bins three times a week over summer to accommodate extra rubbish around the towns and parks.

Meanwhile, Cliff Shipton, BVSC parks, reserves and recreation coordinator, said over the Christmas holiday period the Town Teams have all staff on during the week to pick up rubbish and clean toilets and barbecues.

“On weekends we have three teams of two staff each that do four hours on Saturday and Sunday to help with extra rubbish, barbecue  cleaning and beach clean-ups as well. The Bermagui area only has one staff member that does the four hours on Saturday and Sunday given it’s a smaller area to maintain.

“Depending on how much rubbish is on Merimbula beaches, we use our tractor to drive along the beach and place rubbish in the bucket of the machine to remove. Also, by using the tractor, we can remove hot coals from fires that the holiday makers tend to have.”

Mr Shipton said the extra services from Town Teams run from Boxing Day until the end of January or school holiday period.

“Toilet cleaning is every day in teams including Saturday and Sunday – all toilets are cleaned once a day in the mornings only and barbecues are done at the same time.”

He said all five Merimbula Town Team members work on New Year’s Day morning to clean up extra rubbish.

“This takes approximately five hours to complete around Fishpen and Merimbula in general,” he said. “The other towns are business as usual.”

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