IT was all hands on deck above and below the surface of the Myall River at Tea Gardens last week for the first ever clean-up of the river bed.
Four divers, Suzanne Fieberg, Isabelle Strachan, Chloe Redman and Ryan Neave took to the water on an overcast morning to scour the river bed from the Singing Bridge to the Ogden Street Ramp.
“The current was quite strong and the visibility under the bridge was appalling, deep and dark, so we were doing it by feel,” Isabelle Strachan told News Of The Area.
What they found, however, was an Aladdin’s Chest of treasure and trash.
“We found a few tyres and a lot of construction and road work signs,” Isabelle said.
“We had a pushbike and a chair and loads of bottles.”
“We left quite a few bottles in situ because they are actually habitat and they are not as big a problem as the plastics,” Isabelle added.
Above the surface, volunteers donated their time and their boats to haul the rubbish on board to be taken to the tip.
On the shore, more volunteers were cooking up a storm of burgers and bangers to keep the troops fed and fuelled.
Port Stephens MP Kate Washington was also there to lend her support to the initiative.
“In terms of the waterways, the Tea Gardens/Hawks Nest community gets very little in support from State Government agencies; now they’ve banded together to do the work themselves.”
“It so good to see the community banding together to improve their environment,” Kate Washington said.
The clean-up was organised by the Myall River Action Group.
“We had more volunteers than there were jobs,” Gordon Grainger said.
The operation was such a success chances are they’ll be back to do it all again next year.
By Margie TIERNEY