A Conversation for Perth, Western Australia
Beardie Started conversation Jul 16, 2000
Pretty cynical view of Perth!
You are right about the rivers being brown though. The water is actually browner in winter than it is in summer. This is not necessarily because of polution though, it's mainly tannin from the eucalyptus trees that line the banks further upstream. We do have a water pollution problem too, especially in summer when the water is clearer and seemingly cleaner. A couple of years ago one of the horse racing tracks allowed some pesticide to get into the Swan River and last summer there was an algael bloom outbreak and the river was closed for fishing and water sports for about three weeks. The river is actually a huge estuary so it doesn't take long for the tides to flush the river out when someone stuffs it up. The river is much cleaner now than it was a few years ago though. Sewerage from septic tanks (which is also the local's rhyming slang term for Americans) used to get dumped in the Canning River by contractors but this has been stopped by all contractors now being monitored by the authorities with GPS and a heavy fine for offenders. Needless to say this type of pollution has all but ceased. A great way to see the Canning River is to hire or borrow a canoe and do the 19 km river heritage trail between Maddington and Riverton. It wasn't that long ago this part of the river was a huge garbage dump but it has been returned to its natural state and many areas are landscaped with parks and footpaths. You can also cycle along this part and many other parts of the Swan and Canning Rivers. And if you come to Perth don't forget to go to Rottnest! "Rotto" is an island about 20 minutes by ferry from Fremantle and it's like another country after the city. There are no cars on the island (except for service vehicles) and the only way to get around is to walk or cycle. It gets pretty crowded (and expensive) in summer and I reckon the best time to go is winter. It's heaps cheaper and if you go mid-week and not during school holidays you will virtually have the island to yourself. And it's about 10 degrees warmer on the island than on the mainland.
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