They didn’t travel far, but the state’s environment authority says the movement of five bottles in Mullet Creek shows how litter becomes a lingering problem.
The specially-made bottles were tossed into the creek at Brownsville’s William Beach Park Reserve in early April and had their movements tracked via GPS.
The results are in – the bottles travelled a total of 645 metres, before getting caught up on the edge of the creek.
Mapping of four bottles, released by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), shows none of them travelled far from where they entered the water.
“Where the bottles were launched is a popular picnic spot in the area and the bottles proved that if you leave your litter here, that’s exactly where it will stay,” the EPA said.
“These bottles remained close by, becoming trapped in the mangroves on the riverbanks.”
The EPA’s litter prevention manager, Sharon Owens, said bottles that became stuck in mangroves showed caught-up litter was “just as damaging to the environment as bottles that flow into our waterways”.
“Mangroves support a delicate ecosystem and once litter enters mangroves it can stay there for an alarmingly long period of time,” Ms Owens said.
The Mullet Creek bottles were among 40 used in the EPA’s ‘Hey Tosser!’ litter campaign.
Collectively, the bottles travelled about 284km during the month-long experiment; one moved 45km from Vaucluse to Cronulla.
Another released on the Central Coast travelled to Palm Beach, on Sydney’s northern beaches, before it headed north and was found by a lifeguard 58km away on Soldiers Beach, Norah Head.