Washed up pontoons a 'environmental disaster'

Published 5:00pm 4 March 2022

Washed up pontoons a 'environmental disaster'
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

Debris and pontoons swept down the Brisbane River during the recent floods are now washing up on Moreton Bay beaches, killing marine life. 

Pristine Peninsula Founder Les Barkla said four pontoons had washed up on four different beaches, causing an ‘environmental disaster’.

“We have all seen the footage of the debris and pontoons being washed down the river, and now four of those pontoons have ended up on the peninsula,” Mr Barkla said.

“Pontoons are located on Margate Beach, Queens Beach North, another on Suttons Beach and one at Woody Point near the Guyandah Wreck.

“The one at Woody Point is most concerning because it is in a marine park zone.

“This is an environmental disaster because these pontoons are hazardous to the marine wildlife, and already we are starting to see dead fish, sea cucumbers and other marine life.”

The pontoons are starting to break up due to the tides causing the pontoons to hit the rocks.

“As soon as the pontoons hit the rocks, they break up into millions of smaller pieces, which makes it much harder to clean up,” Mr Barkla said.

“I have had about 20-30 people down on the beaches with me trying to clean up the mess.”

Mr Barkla is asking people to monitor the situation and to reach out to the group via Facebook.

“If you happen to be near the water and notice something, please let us know as we will then get in touch with the proper authorities,” he said.

“If you see something big or dangerous in the water, do not go near it.

“But if you do see some rubbish or litter on the beach and want to help, be sure to wear gloves, boots and take a bucket or a broom.

“I don’t think we have seen the end of the debris in Moreton Bay - It’s going to be horrendous.”

A Maritime Safety Queensland spokesperson said they are "working with stakeholders to prioritise the removal of pontoons and other flood waste".

"We have engaged the Maritime Recovery Group for recovery on Redcliffe Peninsula and Deception Bay to remove on water debris," the spokesperson said. 

"Moreton Bay Regional Council has also advised it is removing shore-based debris.

"Along with our response partners, we are endeavoring to attend to all flood debris and waste in a measured manner.

"The pontoons are made of a variety of materials including concrete, plastic and aluminum."


Join the group

Pristine Peninsula was created roughly four years ago by Mr Barkla.

The group aims to make the Redcliffe Peninsula Australia’s cleanest community with their 6R’s Strategy. These include: Rethink what you buy; Refuse single use plastic; Reduce your waste; Reuse because you can; Repair what you can; Recycle everything you can.

Find them on Facebook.

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