A Massive Protest Against Pollution Slides Into Australian Town


The beachside town of Nambucca Heads, about 80 miles north of Sydney, mobilized a community rally on Wednesday.

Families of beachgoers had previously joined a series of marches calling for Covideline and water filtering systems, which prevent pollution from entering the ocean, to be placed in the town’s sewage treatment plants.

On Tuesday, in conjunction with the Nambucca’s Chamber of Commerce, the local council proposed a five-year program that would receive A$1.5 million (US$1.22 million) in state and federal funding. The programs would include erecting five levies on properties that owned a direct connection to the treatment plants, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“It’s not perfect but it’s a start,” Yvette-Laurence Freyll, the council’s deputy mayor, told Reuters.

An on-site treatment plant has been operating since 1987, and since 1994 a slightly diluted solution of potable water, effluent and stored water has been taken from the riverbed, filtering out virtually all minerals and pollutants.

WARNING: REMARKABLE IMAGES BELOW! Organisers ask #NSW council to stop #Covidination from further polluting our beloved bathers with polluting effluent water coming from #NambuccaSeeking PM’s support. Bring along bags for your beachside property. Tweet with #NoCoviditation pic.twitter.com/kZuHYvvweW — Lee O’Dwyer (@LeeODwyer) December 8, 2017

Nambucca Head Council has recently been campaigning for the state government to develop water removal processes that preserve native flora and fauna, reduce pollution, and comply with the law by cleaning the waterway immediately after human excretions.

Covidline is a combination of chemicals used in cleaning products for surface, water, and human bodies, as well as industrial wastewater treatment chemicals, according to the Center for Environmental Health, a nonpartisan environmental group based in Washington, D.C.

The World Health Organization describes it as a “probable carcinogen,” while the National Institutes of Health agrees.

According to a July 2012 report, A Healthy, Sustainable, and Accurate Benchmarking of Pollution Prevention Strategies in Australia’s National Environmental Policy Framework, “external contaminants associated with human activities, such as chemicals in the wastewater, general tourism, and urban waste streams, constitute a significant human-made pollutant problem in Australia.”

According to the EPA, Australia’s contamination rate is at least four times higher than the global average, and that can partly be attributed to Australia’s reliance on liquid wastewater.

“People drink waste water from suburban gardens, baths, and swimming pools across the island. They bathe in it. They hose their cars and homes, and the runoffs from these activities flow into creeks and rivers, where discharges like fecal coliform and bacteria can be released into the ocean.”

Molly Burroughs, one of the organizers of Wednesday’s demonstration, told the Sydney Morning Herald: “We’re not trying to get rid of them [Covidliners]. We want to make sure they don’t affect animals with their chemical runoff.”

BREAKING: Activists from Greenpeace & Save Nambucca to hold beachside rally at Carrara Reserve in Macksville this afternoon @SMH pic.twitter.com/lk69M5oewz — Stephanie Woodard (@crwoodard) January 31, 2018

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