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Wollongong City Council

Keeping the drain just for rain

Tuesday 12 October 2021

Drain buddies

Wollongong’s newest buddies might be hiding out of sight, but they’re taking on the task of keeping our ocean clean one drain at a time.

Council, with the assistance of the Surfrider Foundation and the Cleanwater Group, are collaborating to install 12 ocean friendly ‘drain buddies’ at key locations around Belmore Basin.

The drain buddies provide a simple solution to collect waste that has made its way into the gutter and drains, by collecting the waste from the runoff water before it is washed into Wollongong’s waterways and harbour.

The drain buddies are heavy-duty baskets that are connected to existing stormwater pits catch the flow of litter, capturing cigarette butts, masks, leaves and other debris, while allowing water to pass through. The baskets are periodically checked and emptied before becoming overfull.

“Once rubbish reaches our oceans it is an extremely difficult task to recapture it. These drain buddies are one step we can take to reduce the amount of litter entering our water ways, keep our harbour clean and stop harm coming to our local wildlife,’’ Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said.

“The Surfrider Foundation continue to be strong advocates in caring for our oceans and beaches. The work they have done to help bring this trial together, that benefits all of our community, is truly appreciated.”

The drain buddies are part of a 12 month trial to test their effectiveness, and during that time Council will receive reports on the waste collected by the baskets. This valuable information will provide an insight into how much waste is being stopped, the types of litter collected, and how it may potentially be prevented into the future.

“These baskets are a great back stop to prevent litter washing into one of Wollongong’s most recognisable natural assets, though ideally we ask that people take responsibility for their own rubbish and avoid littering in the first instance.”

The drain buddy’s initiative is one of the innovative waste projects across the City which include the installation of smart bins, and cigarette butt receptacles in the foreshore area surrounding the harbour. Read more in our media releases: ‘New smart bin trial for Blue Mile’& ‘Butting out cigarette litter’.