HIS connection with the Shoalhaven River seems unrivalled, but mangrove man Charlie Weir is doing his best to pass on his passion.
Yesterday morning he pulled alongside Greys Beach boat ramp with a group from the National Green Jobs Corporation and their fourth boatload of rubbish.
“This is our fourth load of rubbish from the water and we’ve collected two box trailer loads along the river banks,” Mr Weir said.
As Riverwatch vice president, Mr Weir is determined to clean it up.
“Yesterday we went to Broughton Creek near Backforest Road and filled seven bags with rubbish from around the boat ramp without even moving the boat.
“We also picked up six shopping bags full of household garbage that someone had dumped along the banks there.
Mr Weir has fished the river for more than 40 years and is overwhelmed by the waste on its shores.
It’s a combination of plastic and glass bottles, cans, food packaging, thongs, televisions, spare wheels and the plastic from farmers’ hay bales.
The clean up coincides with a multi-stakeholder Love the River Campaign, with Shoalhaven City Council agreeing to waive waste depot fees as a supporter of the campaign.
Southern Rivers CMA community support officer Eric Zarella said Mr Weir was utilising the Green Jobs Corps workforce under a program titled Learning the Ways of the Mangrove Man.
“It’s a partnership between Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority, Riverwatch and the Nowra Aboriginal Land Council.
“These team members are on a six-month traineeship, so while we’ve got them we’re giving Charlie a hand,” he said.
Green Jobs Corps participant Nereena Vonkarparten was disheartened to see rubbish that she believed was being dumped by young people.
“I’ve picked up a lot of energy drinks and there always seems to be rubbish around the typical youth hangout areas along the river,” she said.