Caitlin wants to clean up the reef

Caitlin wants to clean up the reef

Hi, my name is Caitlin and I was a part of the alumni Ocean Youth Ambassador Program at  Melbourne. My time involved with the program was amazing and I learnt many skills and made contacts that have helped me get to where I am today. The one thing that I learnt whilst at Ocean Youth and has stuck with me was that ‘youth have the power to change the world’.
During the Ocean Youth program I started my campaign called ‘Pump It, Don’t Dump It’ which is aiming to bring pump out stations to the Whitsundays.
The Whitsundays are an archipelago surrounded by vibrant reefs and have an extensive array of marine life. It is a gorgeous area of the Great Barrier Reef and amazing to explore by boat. However, here is a question not asked by many, if you are on a boat for days on end, what do you do with all the sewage?
Well, it is dumped over the side.
Ok, it’s not as filthy as it sounds, all the sewage is macerated (turned to sludge) and then has a treatment applied to it within the boat’s holding tank, before being dumped into the ocean. Ok, it is as filthy as it sounds.
There’s a few problems with this. Ultimately, it is unknown if and what type of treatment holding tank the boat has and where the sewage is being dumped. This creates problems legally, hygienically and environmentally.

There are rules and regulations as to where the sewage can be dumped however it is difficult to govern. Moreover, for smaller boats that only have a Porta Pottie, the only legal option for them is to find a toilet on an island for the sewage to be flushed down. So, again isn’t very healthy for the human and natural environment.
There is an easy solution that can lessen the impact on the ocean and surrounding reef and combat all of the above problems: pump out stations.

Pump out stations are a machine that suck out the sewage from the boat’s holding tank. It is then taken to a sewage treatment plant and the sewage is treated and disposed of correctly. There are two pump out stations in the vicinity of the Whitsundays, one at the Airlie Beach Marina and the other at Laguna Quays Marina, approximately 80km from each other; an impossible distance away from the prime cruising grounds. Furthermore, there are no pumping stations around the islands meaning that the only option for boats is for the sewage to go straight over the side. The Whitsundays needs pump out stations urgently and all the yachties that I have spoken to are happy to have a place to discharge sewage that is not on the reef.

‘Pump It, Don’t Dump It’ aims to bring these machines to the Whitsundays. This will ultimately be more environmentally friendly, hygienic and be beneficial to the tourism industry.
However, I need help convincing the Queensland Government. Please join ‘Pump It, Don’t Dump It’, sign the petition and have your voice heard. Together, we will bring pump out stations to the Whitsundays.






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