Ocean protect crew in Newcastle to call for mandatory maintenance of stormwater treatment assets

Each minute of the day the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into the world's oceans and if the current trends continue, there will be more plastic than fish by 2050.

With this data from a 2016 World Economic Forum study at the forefront of their minds, Jeremy Brown and Brad Dalrymple from Ocean Protect have embarked on a coastal road trip from Sydney to Brisbane where they will lobby councils and politicians along the way to make the maintenance of stormwater treatment assets such as underground bins mandatory.

"Ocean plastic is a massive issue but it's one we can solve very easily," Mr Brown, Ocean Protect founder, said.

"We need to stop polluting, put in appropriate stormwater devices and maintain them. For the last 20-odd years we've put in these underground rubbish bins. If you're a developer, you're made to put them in. The problem is that no one is maintaining these systems.

"We have all these underground rubbish bins that are full... because no one is cleaning them out. We're trying to legislate the mandatory maintenance of stormwater quality devices."

In campaigning for mandatory maintenance of all stormwater treatment devices such as gross pollutant traps, Mr Brown and Mr Dalrymple, the principal environmental engineer for Ocean Protect and an adjunct professor at Griffith University, have sent 2500 letters to councils and politicians around the country.

They have also launched a petition through the Ocean Protect website and a podcast to highlight the issue. Mr Brown and Mr Dalrymple stopped in Newcastle on June 12 to promote their campaign.

"We think that by just enforcing the maintenance of existing infrastructure, just maintaining what we have already, we'll save 500 wheelie bins of plastic going into Australian oceans every day," Mr Dalrymple said.

Maintenance of the city's stormwater systems is guided through the Newcastle Development Control Plan 2012, Stormwater and Water Efficiency for Development Technical Manual and Stormwater Management Plan 2004.