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Shocking photos reveal the extent of waste in Perth harbour

A local community in Perth has banded together to tackle the ever-growing issue of marine pollution with a mass clean-up of a boat harbour over the weekend.

Remarkable images show mountains of waste pulled from the bottom of Fremantle’s Fishing Boat Harbour on Saturday as professional and volunteer divers were tasked with scouring the harbour’s bed.

South Fremantle resident and volunteer diver Lisa Jane Hills told Yahoo News Australia that the local community was shocked at the quantity of waste retrieved from the harbour as about 100 people joined forces to remove the discarded items.

“[The volunteers] were certainly surprised with the amount they pulled out,” she said.

Source: Lisa Jane Hills
Tyres and a skip bin full of rubbish show what was sitting at the bottom of the harbour. Source: Lisa Jane Hills
Source: Lisa Jane Hills
The pile of tyres pulled from the harbour. Source: Lisa Jane Hills

Ms Hills, a vet nurse at Perth Zoo, said the annual event, which is now in its ninth year, is organised by the dedicated Narc Diving Club, who last visited the site three years ago.

One alarming image taken by Ms Hills shows dozens of tyres stacked on top of each other after being hauled from the water after falling from vessels and the harbour wall.

“There was a hell of a lot of tyres,” she said.

Another image pictures about a dozen large batteries.

While she said some of the items pulled out such as sunglasses were probably accidentally dropped into the water, the batteries most likely weren’t.

“The dumping of batteries ... no one can say that’s accidental, they don’t just fall off boats,” she said.

Source: Lisa Jane Hills
Batteries discarded from boats that were found in the harbour. Source: Lisa Jane Hills
Source: Lisa Jane Hills
Two divers work to remove a large tyre. Source: Lisa Jane Hills

One diver even retrieved a plastic Meadow Lea margarine tub from 1979.

Ms Hills said there were large amounts of fishing materials, mainly ropes and some chains.

“We even pulled out a pram, chairs ands a child’s scooter,” she added.

Several skips were filled with waste over the weekend.

This margarine tub pulled from the water is from 1979.Source: Ronda Doggett
This margarine tub pulled from the water is from 1979. Source: Ronda Doggett

Local marine life suffering

The efforts from about 100 people on Saturday and further work completed on Sunday comes just weeks after two young sisters were filmed pulling out plastic waste from the harbour for over an hour.

Isobel, 6, and Stella, 4, said they were sprung into action because they didn’t want local inhabitants they love to watch regularly such as fish and crabs to die.

Ms Hills said that the copious amounts of waste would undoubtedly affect the habitats of the marine life in the harbour.

During Saturday’s recovery mission, she said octopuses, seahorses and crabs were accidentally pulled from the water while bringing waste to dry land.

Source: Lisa Jane Hills
About 100 people helped with Saturday's recovery mission. Source: Lisa Jane Hills
Two divers ready to jump into the harbour. Source: Lisa Jane Hills
Two divers ready to jump into the harbour. Source: Lisa Jane Hills

“What’s in [the harbour] can works its way into the ocean,” she pointed out.

Ms Hill said one of the biggest issues was that many are oblivious to the problem hidden beneath the murky waters.

“I think there are some people that just don’t know. People need to know, change won’t happen otherwise.”

Ms Hill, who runs her own plastic waste campaign to ban the use of helium balloons, said those who were unaware of the issue “were left horrified” after witnessing what was pulled out.

She suggested stronger pressure needs to come from the government and councils including harsher punishments to help prevent the mass waste ending up in Perth’s waters.

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