Stormwater is rainwater runoff in urban areas which either flows directly into waterways or is channeled down drains and into the stormwater system. It can be a problem when it contains pollutants such as sediments, metals, nutrients, pathogens, organic matter and litter. This project aims to raise awareness in the community about the contaminants that we wash down the drains and how they end up polluting our waterways by stencilling a simple message on stormwater drains in our streets.
NRM North's Education Program has developed Drain Stencilling kits in partnership with NRM North's Tamar Estuary and Esk Rivers Program (TEER), which provide all the necessary equipment for schools and community groups to get out on the streets and paint a message on drain heads around the region.
THE BIG PICTURE
The purpose of this project is to raise awareness in the community that what we do on our streets, in our front and back yards, and across the wider landscape has an impact on water quality in the rivers and estuaries that are downstream. Stormwater pollution has serious impacts on water quality and aquatic life. The most effective way to reduce stormwater pollution is to stop it entering the system in the first place. Public awareness is crucial for this to happen, so getting the message out on the streets is a great way to raise the topic.
WHY THIS ACTIVITY IS IMPORTANT
As stormwater runs over the land it can pick up a variety of pollutants such as rubbish, fertilisers and pesticides, oil from road surfaces, leaves, soil and seeds. These pollutants cause a variety of problems in waterways, like smothering of plants and animals, increasing the turbidity, and nutrient levels in water, reducing oxygen in water, and human health concerns.
Students are at the stage of their life when they are actively learning, developing attitudes and ideas which they will carry into their adult life. Supporting schools in environmental education allows NRM North to deliver material that will influence the decisions of future land managers. By having a knowledgeable community we ensure that people are looking after our natural resources.
WHAT HAS BEEN SOLVED
We chose to stencil a quite specific message, "Drains to the Tamar, when you litter the streets you litter the estuary." This was to ensure that the wider community really got the message and made the link between their behaviour on-land and water quality issues in their local waterways and the estuary.
WHAT WE HAVE ACHIEVED
Through the Drain Stencilling project:
- Stencils on drains in school grounds at Prospect High
- The main street of George Town has been stencilled
- Launceston will be stencilled over the next few months
- The kits will be offered to all other municipalities in the northern region.
A teaching resource was developed in conjunction with the kits, and this offers teachers back ground information regarding stormwater and catchment management on a more general level, and a variety of classroom activities to ensure meaningful understanding.
By offering schools and students a different type of activity we can get the message out to the community as a whole. Teachers are quite keen on this type of resource as it offers them a planned unit of work and learning based on participation in a stormwater education campaign.
Contact Person: Michael Black
Title: Education Officer
Business: NRM North
Phone: 03 6333 7775