Saturday, January 12, 2008

Bay Dredging

Dredging (blasting away rocks underwater is a bit more than just dredging surely?) Victoria's Port Phillip Bay to allow in larger ships is something that one may or one may not approve of. I don't feel too passionately about it, although I don't think it is necessary and is being done solely for the benefit of private company profits. I am fairly sure that the bay will recover from the assault and the disturbance. If it was not done, there is a risk that large ships will use other ports and Victoria will not continue to have Australia's major port.

What I do feel passionately about is the dredging of the mouth of the Yarra River to allow the large ships to get to the docks. The bed of the Yarra is full of toxic nasties that we have dumped or allowed to accumulate over very many years. All these nasties will get stirred up but perhaps it will be worth it as they will be removed.

Ok, all this could be argued about by proponents and opponents. What cannot be argued about is that these toxic nasties are to be dumped in the middle of the bay. Authorities have admitted that it is purely a cost saving measure. It is cheaper to dump than treat, not that we can treat anyway.

Removing Cadmium, Mercury, Zinc, Lead, Arsenic and Ammonia from the bed of the Yarra must be good but dumping it in the middle of the bay surely is not good. Will we ever learn to stop wantonly abusing our environment? It always turns around and bites us on the bum.

Blue Wedges is fighting hard against the whole project.


  1. Andrew, this dredging business affects me directly, as I work for a shipping company. Presently, we cannot load our ships full to capacity, because the bay is not deep enough to accommodate them fully laden. This means that the freight costs are higher, as we still need to make money from less cargo. This cost is passed to you, the consumer, in the form of higher prices.

    Also, our economies of scale are less, as we use the same amount of bunker (fuel) to carry less containers. Hence a higher environmental cost per container as well. Rail is not an economical option either, as the cost of diesel, and the inefficiency of our national railways are a disgrace.

    I'm not for a second suggesting that the dredging will have no effect. I'm merely suggesting that the long term positives may outweigh the short term negatives.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts Hawkeye.

  3. With the money this dredging is costing taxpayers, the authorities are looking at cost saving. How truly wonderful of them but it would be better if they re-cycled the heavy metals instead of dumping them.

    Next time you're down Queenscliffe way, look at the model of the sea floor in the marine museum. People always think of it as flat but it's full of deep holes and natural channels. We aren't taught enough about what is on our doorstep and how it could be affected.

  4. Hawkeye23- doesn't Portland or Western Port have deeper ports/channels ? Wouldn't it be economically viable for the major ports to be relocated to either of these, rather than dredging the bay and Yarra mouth?
    Just asking, not arguing.

    The dredging doesn't effect me directly (business-wise) but the destruction to the bed of the bay concerns me a great deal.

  5. Anonymous10:51 am

    im only 16, and am doing a speech on the port phillip bay dredging.

    there are plenty of ways to get around dregding, and no one seems to be thinking of the businesses depending on the bay staying how it is.

    also, its a beautiful bay and i think it should be valued. victoria does not NEED to have Asutralias major port. i think its a bit selfish. think of the negatives. its greedy of us [I'm a Victorian].

  6. Thanks Anon. The worst thing is that there is no going back if something seriously goes wrong. Good luck with your speech.