IT’S not his job but, if it wasn’t for locals like Derek Jones, parts of Redhead Beach would look more like a rubbish dump than one of the icons of the Hunter’s coast.
The retired arborist is among an increasing number of residents who are frustrated with the pile of litter that four-wheel-drive enthusiasts and campers are leaving behind.
Mr Jones visits the area around Third Creek about three times a week and normally takes away a couple of garbage bins full of rubbish.
‘‘I was down here on New Year’s Eve and there have been 200 cars near the lagoon,’’ he said. ‘‘I came down the next day there was rubbish everywhere.’’
Hundreds of glass and plastic bottles, footwear, a broken surfski, ice bags, a mattress and car engine were among the items the Herald found over a three kilometre stretch yesterday.
‘‘A mate of mine found a broken hang-glider a while back,’’ Mr Jones said. ‘‘You don’t have to walk 20 metres without picking something up.’’
A V6 car engine submerged in sand next to Third Creek was the most bizarre item discovered last week.
‘‘You hate to think where the oil from it went,’’ he said.
Mr Jones said the problem had become worse over the past decade, but particularly so since the closure of Stockton Beach to 4WDs last month.
‘‘Our environment is the most intelligent thing in our world but it’s also the most fragile,’’ he said. ‘‘We want people to start looking after it.’’
The Herald reported last year that Stockton Beach had similar litter problem.
A Lake Macquarie City Council spokeswoman said Third Creek was not council land. However, the council was working with the Department of Primary Industries (Catchment and Lands) to implement an illegal dumping deterrence program in the Belmont Wetlands State Park.
‘‘Council has provided $20,000 to fund illegal dumping controls including gates, fencing and rockwork within the park to help prevent illegal dumping in the area,’’ she said. ‘‘Additionally, council has provided assistance to improve the park’s illegal dumping management processes, including rehabilitation plans.’’
Anyone witnessing illegal dumping is asked to contact the council’s Customer Service Centre on 49210333, the Environment Line on 131555, the NSW police or Crime Stoppers on 1800333000.