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The Shocking Truth About Australia’s Greatest Tourist Drawcard

October 1, 2019 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

A video has been released to show the shocking truth about arguably Australia’s greatest tourist drawcard – The Sydney Harbour.

Sydney received over 39.3 million visitors in the year ending March 2019 according to Destination NSW, Sydney Harbour is said to pull $21.9 billion into the city’s economy thanks to drawcards like the Habour’s waterways, Bridge and Opera House. Instagram recently revealed the Sydney Opera House as the number one photographed icon in Australia.

But according to Dr Katherine Dafforn, Deputy Director of Sydney Harbour Research Program, the Harbour is a paradox: “It does look beautiful but it is one of the more modified and polluted estuaries along our coastline”.

Dafforn says there are several ‘dead zones’ around the Harbour where research has proved there are no living organisms. She says a large part of the issue is runoff from stormwater drains in our urban environments. In fact, 70 per cent of debris sinks to the ocean floor and two thirds of pollution into Sydney Harbour comes from stormwater runoff.

“I do a lot of stormwater research and after we have really big rainfall events the harbour is quite tragic,” added Dafforn.

During recent heavy rainfall, residents and tourists were advised not to swim at 18 beaches and bays around Sydney Harbour according to the NSW Government Office of Environment’s website, providing a snapshot of the impact of stormwater on our environment during and immediately after rain.

Co-Founder of Ocean Protect, Jeremy Brown says: “In Australia the CSIRO estimates that 1,560 kilos of plastic is entering into our waterways every hour and in addition it is estimated that 15 olympic size swimming pools of pollution enters our harbour on a yearly basis.”

The video was funded by TOMRA as part of their broader efforts to educate Australians on protecting the environment and reducing the impact of drink containers that can often end up in nature, including Sydney Harbour.

“It’s important that we take the time to think about the impact of our behaviour on one of our great Australian icons. Let’s take care of our Harbour both above and below the surface in order to protect our natural environment and industries who benefit from it, including tourism,” said Rachel Draper at TOMRA.

“On a practical level, Sydneysiders can help by reducing their use of single use plastics and recycling their drink containers (including glass and aluminum) by taking them to TOMRA reverse vending machines where instead of paying for a drink, you get paid for depositing your used containers to be recycled,” added Draper.

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