Additional gross pollutant traps in Dubbo and Wellington would improve the health of the river and boost tourism, says Dubbo Regional Council mayor Ben Shields.
There are already 58 GPTs in the Dubbo local government area. They catch rubbish in the stormwater system before it enters the river.
Cr Shields has called for an immediate review to be undertaken into the current GPTs and to locate the ideal places to add more across the next three to four years.
Council will also connect with local community groups such as Inland Waterways and the Dubbo Field Naturalists to develop an education program on the need to reduce littering and keep the Macquarie River healthy.
There was a problem with the Macquarie River, Cr Shields said.
“I’ve often said that council is very, very keen to jump on the trendy topics when it comes to environmental management in the city but when it comes to the actual, physical things that residents take and hold sacred, which is the health of our river, we tend not to pay as much attention as what we should do,” he said.
GPTs were introduced in Dubbo in 1999. Each one can cost up to $100,000 to install.
“Spending money on GPTs is not necessarily wasted money. I sincerely believe that a proper investment in these 58 GPTs and also adding new ones to it will far return our investment by way of having a healthy Macquarie River which in turn will add to the tourism of this area,” Cr Shields said.
The GPTs have stopped more than 1000 tonnes of rubbish going into the river since they were introduced in Dubbo, but Cr Shields said more needed to be done.
“You only have to look at the amount of rubbish that comes out of the river when the team from Inland Waterways and all the other various associated entities get together and do a river clean-up to see that we haven’t got enough of these GPTs,” he said.
“We’re being bad neighbours because we are upriver from a lot of other councils, such as Narromine Shire Council, Warren, the list goes on. We need to make sure that our Macquarie is a healthy river and is something we can show off as a tourist attraction.”
Council will develop a funding program to see if external funding can be utilised for the GPT plan.