Have you seen my ‘Drain Socks’, dear?
Warning! This story stinks!
As a representative of approximately 50% of the population whose feet are enclosed and shod for a high proportion of the time, and as one who gets pissed off at the prospect of receiving boringly predictable ‘socks and jocks’, yet again, for various assortments of anniversaries, let me introduce you to every male’s dream birthday present, the ‘Drain Sock’.
I elaborate rather profusely, of course, when I say ‘every man’ and should perhaps limit this over generalised exuberance to the male municipal engineer, although his colleague, the female municipal engineer, will undoubtedly be equally exhilarated.
Furthermore, this ‘Drain Sock’ is not for wearing on the feet, but for covering the outer tip of our commonly occurring protruding orifices, in order to protect the environment from various forms of extruded pollution.
I hasten to add that I am not attempting to limit the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, nor am I advocating for better toilet facilities, so you can remove that pained expression from your faces and the gentlemen can uncross their legs. Rather, these particular 'socks' are beyond our individual, household, or even street excreta, and are targeted at the discharge points of our wastewater pipes, where their often polluted contents meet our streams, rivers, lakes and oceans.
Although I’m still asking you to keep your minds in the gutter, my aim is to introduce a marvellously simple, effective, and reasonably cheap filtration system to reduce the amount of plastic, cigarette butts and other flotsam and jetsam from being transmitted from out gutters via our drainage pipes and entering and polluting our waterways.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you the ‘Drain Sock’?
Please open the link below and watch the video. 🙏
I have no doubt that many of us who are concerned at the ongoing and constant stream of solid waste (particularly plastics), which is spilled into our oceans from our drainage discharge systems worldwide, have asked ourselves at one time or another, "Why can't we catch all this sh*t and either put it in landfills instead of our oceans, or, better still, recycle it?"
Well, let me proudly tell you that, here in Oz, the City of Kwinana (a municipality on the south side of Perth in Western Australia) has gone one step further and successfully installed two drainage nets to catch the rubbish being discharged from road drainage within the City.
Again, if you haven't yet done so, please go to the above link and watch the video. 🙏
Now let me pass you to Carol Adams, the Mayor of the City of Kwinana who can explain better what they've done (quotes sources from articles published online by ABC News, that's the Aussie Broadcasting Corporation and not the American one, and also The West Australian newspaper).
“The nets capture gross pollutants carried by stormwater from the local road network before those pollutants are discharged and contaminate the natural environment at the downstream end of the outlet area.”
“This ensures that the habitat of the local wildlife is protected and minimises the risk of wildlife being caught in the nets."
“Its success just goes to show how important it is for Government at all levels to really start to focus on environmental initiatives such as these and realise that small actions can have big impacts.”
As the narrative is continued by Mayor Adams, let me just let you know that 25 million people have reportedly interacted with a single drain sock photo published by Council on social media.
"We're still getting up to five telephone enquiries or email enquiries globally a week from Austin, Texas to the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Zambia and New Zealand," she said.
"We've had calls from Chile, Brazil, Portugal, many European countries — I've even been on a Canadian weather station interview."
"Here we are, a city of 42,000 residents who had this really great idea that wasn't very costly, and we've had this amazing response to it."
Meanwhile, according to the same ABC News source, the City of Cockburn in Perth has melted 40,000 supermarket single use plastic bags into the pavement asphalt mix of a new road in Port Coogee, with the mix reportedly also including "900 printer toner cartridges, 210kg [460lb] of crumb rubber from car tyres and seven tonnes of recycled asphalt pavement".
Another Perth Council, the City of Canning, recently included recycled plastic and glass (58,000 plastic bottles and 37,500 glass beer bottles) as the aggregate in an asphaltic road pavement wearing course.
These are not new concepts, as paving materials using recycled materials were also trialled a few years back in the Netherlands. Also, the above net concept of capturing end-of-pipe floatables has reportedly been manufactured and distributed in North America (as 'StormX') for many years.
The viral reaction to the City of Kwinana social media post, however, suggests that perhaps the time is now ripe for action worldwide. Let me finish with another couple of quotes from Carol Adams (pictures below):
"It's [ie the international interest in Australian environmental innovations] showing people around the world are worried about their own backyard," she said.
"They want to know about how they clean up their backyard and how they can engage with their local councils about it."
Tell me, what's your municipality doing to prevent waste from wending its way into our waterways?
When not researching the weird or the wonderful, the comical or the cultured, the sinful or the serious, I chase my creative side, the results of which can be seen as selected photographs of my travels on my website at:
The author of the above, Ken Boddie, besides being a sometime poet and occasional writer, is an enthusiastic photographer, rarely leisure-travelling without his Canon, and loves to interact with other like-minded people with diverse interests.
Ken's three day work week (part time commitment) as a consulting engineer allows him to follow his photography interests, and to plan trips to an ever increasing list of countries and places of scenic beauty and cultural diversity.