THE waves at Bells Beach can be challenging enough, but when word spread of a “big poo” being spotted at the nearby town of Torquay an even sharper focus was kept on the ocean over Easter.
However, the Big Poo was more of a mobile landmark than a threat to surfers competing in the annual Rip Curl Pro surfing contest.
Men’s winner Ethan Ewing and women’s champion Tyler Wright were in no danger as they rode the Bells waves to victory as the Big Poo had been safely secured on a trailer towed by Clean Ocean Foundation’s Tom Duell.
As the surfing champs collected their prize money ($80,000 each) and a small replica of the Bells Bell, Duell and Clean Ocean Foundation were busy reminding the public about the dangers of sewage being pumped daily from ocean outfalls.
The Mornington Peninsula-based foundation took the Big Poo to Torquay to “raise awareness of the mass scale ocean pollution that is still happening on our beaches daily”, Duell said.
“The Big Poo visited Queenscliff, Torquay, Lorne, and Apollo Bay over the weekend and became a great way for residents to talk about a dirty issue,” he said.
“Clean Ocean is currently launching its new campaign to have all treatment plants upgraded to purified recyclable water (PRW). This technology we are advocating for is available and capable of removing pollutants such as; microplastics, PFAS and hazardous nutrients from wastewater.
“Clean Ocean is asking community members to become a supporter and join the fight to clean up our beaches.”
Duell said that each week in Victoria “we dump enough wastewater to fill four MCGs, that’s 6.7 billion litres a week”.
Established in 2000, the foundation was an integral part of the process to achieve an upgrade to the Eastern Treatment Plant which feeds 400 million litres a day of wastewater to the Gunnamatta outfall.