Peace Freeborn has spent three days collecting rubbish from the Wilsons River in Lismore.
Peace Freeborn has spent three days collecting rubbish from the Wilsons River in Lismore. Susanna Freymark

For peace sake, clean the river

A DEAD greyhound, 11 shopping trolleys and a car gearbox are not what you expect to find in the Wilsons River as it meanders through the city of Lismore.

For three successive days, Peace Freeborn has paddled his kayak on the river between Coleman’s Bridge and the Ballina Street bridge to pick up rubbish from the water and its banks.

The Nimbin man, who changed his name to Peace three years ago, is shocked by what is thrown into the river.

“I feel like I’m paddling in a sewer,” he said.

He collects mainly plastic bottles, but he also picked up a floating toolbox, cans and soccer balls.

“I didn’t know what else to do, every time I drive over the river I see the rubbish,” Mr Freeborn said.

It is the heavy items, like the wheelbarrow tied to the fridge or the shopping trolleys that he can’t remove. He would like someone to step forward and offer a boat or the money to hire one so he can collect heavy items, such as the trolleys.

“There is trash where there are people,” he said.

“Imagine seven generations from now; imagine the crap they are going to live in.”

Rous Water’s technical services director Wayne Franklin said while the cleaning of the river is not their responsibility they did recently remove dead cows from the Wilsons River and buried them

Mr Freeborn saw a YouTube clip that showed birds eating plastic lids, the bird died and then another bird ate the lid.

Plastic water bottles and the lids are a major problem on the river, he said.

He would like to see initiatives like the one the residents of Bundanoon, in NSW, took when it became Australia’s first bottled water-free town this year.

Mr Freeborn is a member of the Nimbin Environment Centre and plans to keep cleaning the stretch of Wilsons River between the two bridges until it is clean again.

Despite hurting his back in a motorbike accident in 1989, Mr Freeborn said paddling his boat helped with the pain.

WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT CLEANING UP OUR RIVERS?

Phone 6624 3266 or SMS 0428 264 948



Drums set the pace as dragon boats take over Shaws Bay

premium_icon Drums set the pace as dragon boats take over Shaws Bay

GALLERY: were you spotted on the water?

Art meets science at Lismore Quad

premium_icon Art meets science at Lismore Quad

Hundreds attend Lismore's annual Arts vs Science Festival

Local Partners