Fremantle Society Concerns on Rubbish Fraud

Rubbish Fraud

Given the Felice Varini Yellow Lines debacle in High Street, French artists may not be very popular here at the moment, but French artist Bibi has a compelling exhibition about plastic rubbish currently running in Sete, and this is one of his images.

Bibi’s image reminds us of the obscene amounts of damaging plastic garbage littering the oceans and landscapes of the world.

That obscenity is made worse by the fraud perpetrated by governments, and also councils.

To implement a three plastic bin system, instead of two, Fremantle Council has increased rates by 2% to cover the cost, a full year before the system is due to start. Other councils like Cockburn and East Fremantle implementing the three plastic bins have NOT charged their residents extra.

A ratepayer paying $5,000 rates will thus pay $100 a year, for ever, for the extra plastic bin. Ratepayers who understand or care about this fraud should demand that rates be reduced by 2% this year, as the bin cost will have been covered.

But the major fraud is that after so much effort to separate rubbish, much of it is going to landfill.

SMRC, the organisation that deals with Fremantle’s rubbish, along with that from East Fremantle and Melville, is struggling to cope with the garbage crisis. Their claimed recycling rate of 65% is better than government targets, but when they send our rubbish overseas to Malaysia or Vietnam, how much goes to landfill? What is the true recycling figure? Why should we be selling our rubbish to other countries?

SMRC is struggling so much, they have now decided to put their operations out to tender.

Even during former Mayor Tagliaferri’s term, SMRC was seen as a bottomless financial pit, and various councils ran for the door, content to lose millions of dollars to get out of SMRC. But Fremantle is still there, with one of its councillors, Doug Thompson, as the well paid Chairman.

Because Australia has run its manufacturing base down dramatically, plastic and glass are, extraordinarily, no longer made in this country. There is so little demand for recycled glass that trainloads of it are heading for Rockingham and landfill each month instead of being recycled. 50 years ago a glass Coke bottle would be washed and reused up to 100 times. Now, if you want glass, you pay more for it, and it goes to landfill.

While Fremantle Council paints itself as a national leader in environmental issues, much of it is window dressing. There is a crisis, and one that exists now.

The Fremantle Society is concerned not just with heritage issues but environmental ones as well.

Bibi points out that in 1950, two million tons of plastic were produced each year. Now that figure is 350 million tons, and most of it cannot be recycled. His picture shows the new genus of fish he has created, piscis lagoena (plastic bottle fish).

It will cost ratepayers over $220,000 to clean the plastic coated yellow lines off Fremantle’s heritage buildings. When will council treat plastic and other waste as the crisis that it is? It is not a photo opportunity, but a disaster. It is one that needs leadership now.

Fremantle Society members are the conveyor belt for much of the rubbish stream, and need to be part of the solution.

Originally posted by the President 15 May 2019.

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