ENVS829 Pollution Control and Waste Management
Field Trip 1 and Assessment 1 – Report on Sydney Harbour Litter
At the request of the Roads and Maritime Services and the NSW Environment Protection Authority you have been asked to assess the types and amounts of litter in Sydney Harbour. Everyday special skimmer barges and clean-up crews clean the waterways and beaches in the harbour. With the NSW Container Deposit Scheme having come into effect in December 2017, the authorities’ would like to know the make-up of this litter to see if the legislation has been effective at reducing certain types of litter.
The Roads and Maritime Services Marine office is at 33 James Craig Road Rozelle (a short walk from Victoria Road bus stop or Rozelle Bay light rail stop). You need to get to and from the location yourself. We will be having an on-site induction so please meet out the front of the main entrance 10 minutes prior to the scheduled time.
You need to attend only one of the following days but the selection of the day will be by ballot (Please submit your preferences to me by email, in order from 1 to 4, by Friday 23rdAugust). There will be approximately 17 (max.) per group:
1. Monday 2nd September 1 - 4pm
2. Tuesday 3rd September 8:30 – 11:30am
3. Wednesday 4th September 2 - 5pm
4. Thursday 5th September 2 - 5pm
5. Friday 6th September 9 – 12am
In your team you will conduct a litter survey on your allocated day. The broad aim of the study is to gather information on the current litter amounts and types found in Sydney Harbour. This will be achieved through undertaking the following activities:
1. Litter Collection
Litter will be collected on the day prior to the analysis by the RMS clean-up crews. A selection of litter from a region of the Harbour will be aggregated for a total of 3m3. Litter will be both organic and synthetic so make sure you have the following personal protection equipment:
• Solid shoes or steel capped boots
• Fluoro shirt or vests (I should be able to get enough vests but let me know if you have one).
• Optional - odour mask (for the potential smelly stuff)
Without the appropriate PPE you cannot participate
Litter will be deposited in the sorting area.
Please note the conditions (wind speed and direction, temperature and rainfall) for the day the litter was collected.
2. Litter sorting
Litter will be sorted using the modified NSW EPA Local Litter Check form for synthetics and the NSW EPA Kerbside Audit Guidelines for organic waste.
Both these have been incorporated in one excel spreadsheet.
These will be provided to you on the day but it is best to look over these beforehand so you are familiar with them (see iLearn).
1. Make any notes on the information provided by RMS on the how and where the litter was collected.
2. The group may be split in two with three or four people sorting the litter in to the broad categories with another person acting as data recorder per mini group.
3. Spread out the rubbish carefully making sure there are no sharps. Please leave any sharp objects for the staff to handle.
4. Separate organic matter from synthetic.
5. Sort synthetic waste items into the broad categories as per the data sheet (e.g. Beverage related, take away containers, smoking related and other) and by size - small ( 100ml), medium (100 ml – 1 L) and large ( 1 L).
6. Then using the tubs sort these further into Plastic, Paper, Glass, Metals etc.
7. Record both number and weight under the specific categories listed on the sheet.
8. Total the items by their category.
9. Place rubbish back in appropriate bins (e.g. if recyclables in general use bin put back in recycling bin).
10. Repeat for organics using the following categories Compostable: Food/kitchen, vegetation, other putrescible (e.g. animal excrement) and Other Organic: Wood/timber, textiles, leather, other).
11. Remember to take photos throughout. These will be handy for your report.
12. At the end of the survey enter data into excel spreadsheet. This will automatically calculate the volume data. Put the data on the Unit’s iLearn site (only one person needs to do this).
Everyone should familiarise themselves with the categories, size classes and items on the sheet to make it easier for the recorder.
Due: Monday 30 October 2019
Length (maximum): 4500 words. Note - figures, tables and references are not included in the word count.
You need to write an individual report on the findings from your sample day but working together to create summary data is advisable. Include analysis of the amounts, types, weights, sizes and volumes of litter by the designated categories. Comparison to other existing data sets (e.g. the 2015 report on iLearn) should be made to see if there have been any changes.
You should follow the standard reporting format and include an executive summary (300 words max.), an introduction including aims, a brief of the approach used (do not just restate the information given to you), the findings and what they mean (i.e. results and discussion), and a conclusion and recommendations section.
Remember RMS and EPA would like see some summary graphs and tables of results not just the field data sheets reproduced. Any literature cited should be listed in a reference list.
Reports are to be submitted via a link in the Assessment box on the unit iLearn site. There is no need to attached a cover sheet or submit a hard copy.
The assessment will be marked using GradeMark with digital feedback and grading posted on GradeBook within two weeks of submission. Marks will be allocated based upon the marking criteria set out below. Details on how to access and understand your results can be found at:
Criteria Marks allocated
Description of problem
• Introduction/background to the issue is presented (including some literature)
• Aims and approach are articulated 10
• Litter and organic waste data is accurately described
• Presentation and analysis of information is appropriate 14
Analysis and interpretation
• Summary is succinct and reflective of main findings
• Interpretation of data is accurate and insightful
• Considered all relevant issues
• Recommendations and conclusions are appropriate 16
Structure and presentation of report
• Report is well organised
• Writing is clear, concise, free of errors
• Literature is correctly cited both in text and in reference list 10