Bega District Letters to the Editor, August 14

UPGRADES: On Saturday, dignitaries celebrate the progress of work at Tathra Sea Eagles AFL Club's Lawrence Park facilities, including installation of a 12kW solar system.
UPGRADES: On Saturday, dignitaries celebrate the progress of work at Tathra Sea Eagles AFL Club's Lawrence Park facilities, including installation of a 12kW solar system.

Leaking pipes

In Sydney if I get a leak in an outside water pipe I can get plans of where the pipes are from the water board or local council so I don’t have to dig up the whole property.

Not so in Bega.

I have had an ongoing issue with very large water bills since they put new meters in my street. A councillor suggested I get a plumber to see if I have a leak and, according to the plumber, I do.

But council, although it is also the local water authority, doesn’t have diagrams of where my outside water pipes are. Why this is not a mandatory requirement of the DA when the house is being built is beyond me. It’s just common sense.

The bad news is the plumber told me it would cost $500 to $1000 to locate the leak on my two-acre property. I am also told if it is a plastic pipe it will be even harder to find. It will then cost me more money to repair the leak or replace the pipe.

All of this is very bad planning by council. A simple pipe repair is now a major issue which could have been prevented by council making water pipe diagrams part of the DA. Funnily enough council do have diagrams of my septic system?  Maybe I can find cheap water diviner to locate the leak?

Frank Pearce, Bega

Keep forests intact

The National Parks Association, like Peter Rutherford (Letters, 3/8), takes very seriously the large and growing threat to Australia’s wildlife and natural places from fires and feral animals. However, we don’t believe that the government’s proposals to perpetuate woodchipping in southern NSW – and to export this model of logging to the north coast – is part of the solution.

In contrast, now more than ever do we need to keep our forests intact to act as carbon sinks to help us tackle climate change. The Paris Climate Accord explicitly recognises the importance of this role of forests. 

The sad truth is that no-one beyond the few directly employed in the industry benefits from logging our public forests. But the exciting part is that a transition to well-managed plantations is well within reach. There is nothing to fear from this change and all to gain, so NPA’s forest campaign is actually about optimism and aspiration for a better future for forests, wildlife and regional communities.

Alix Goodwin, NPANSW, Pyrmont

Fishing hazardous

The war on straws seems to be going well, with McDonald's announcing it will phase out the use of plastic straws by 2020. But, if you are concerned with keeping animals in the ocean safe, don't just look to your drinking straw, look to your dinner plate. In fact, eating fish does far more harm to our oceans than sipping your drink through a straw ever will.

Abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear is a  problem that spells catastrophe for marine life. At least 640,000 tonnes of “ghost gear” are added to our oceans every year, killing and mutilating millions of marine animals – including endangered whales, seals and turtles. Swallowing plastic remnants from ghost gear leads to malnutrition, digestive blockages and death.

In the Pacific Ocean, there is a floating patch of garbage twice the size of France and weighing roughly 88,000 tons. While this enormous area, like our oceans at large, is full of plastic, scientists estimate that 46 per cent of the mass of the garbage patch comes from fishing nets alone. And other types of fishing gear account for much of the rest.

So, while many people are stocking up on cloth shopping bags and signing petitions to ban single-use plastic straws to save the oceans, those who fish (or eat fish) need to re-examine their personal choices too.

Clearly, fishing is hazardous to the environment. But it’s also horrifically cruel. Commercial fishing kills hundreds of billions of animals worldwide every year – far more than any other industry. You can't eat fish and call yourself an environmentalist.

Desmond Bellamy, PETA Australia