The daily walk – why is the Brisbane river so polluted?

We have some beautiful riverside walks in Brisbane.  My favourite starts under the Gardens Point Bridge and continues for about four kilometers to a cafe at Dockside, Kangaroo Point, where the coffee is the best in the world.  On the way we are passed by joggers and cyclists, and in our turn pass abseilers dangling from the Kangaroo Point cliffs, all the while enjoying the river scenery and spectacular city views. Lately, though, at a certain point in our walk, a foul stench reaches our noses and something in the air stings our eyes both emanating from what looks like a harmless drain inlet.  It was also there the day a certain government department launched its “Clean Waterways” program from a venue a few hundred metres away on the same path.  That day, the Minister, or some V.I.P., made a speech, invited guests politely listened and ate carefully prepared hors d’oeuvres while TV crews filmed it for the six o’clock news.  If any of them had walked just a few hundred metres along the path, the overpowering odour of what smells like untreated human effluent would have knocked them for six.  It disappeared for a little while, a few weeks perhaps, but it was back in force to-day.  It is still there months later and the water is suspiciously green, contrasting with the river’s usual muddy brown colour athough my i-pad’s photo perhaps doesn’t show this clearly.  We’ve just had our “Clean up Australia” weekend and received the Council newsletter in this week’s mail.  No mention anywhere of this smelly problem.  Perhaps there are other similarly affected areas out there?  Why is this happening in a city that gives so much lip service and publicity to its clean waterways?

Brisbane River opposite Gardens Point

Brisbane River opposite Gardens Point

View across to Brisbane CBD from riverside walk.

View across to Brisbane CBD from riverside walk.

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2 Responses to The daily walk – why is the Brisbane river so polluted?

  1. Rachel says:

    They used to dump raw sewerage in the Brisbane river didn’t they? I wonder whether they still do.

    • evemeredith says:

      True, but that was at Luggage Point, near the mouth of the river and not in the heart of the city, next to a popular recreational area. I thought we had instigated improved treatment methods since then. Evidently, the system isn’t coping too well.

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