Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Boy injured by litter left on Murray River beach

A five-year-old boy was taken to Cobram hospital last week with a cut foot after treading on broken glass along the Murray River.

JEMIMA LEWIS January 16, 2013 5:00am

Lisa Ramadge with her children Tyler, 5, and Jordyn, 7.

A five-year-old boy was taken to Cobram hospital last week with a cut foot after treading on broken glass along the Murray River.

Tyler Ramadge of Coldstream was camping with his family at Weiss Beach, Koonoomoo when the incident occurred.

It is one which Parks Victoria rangers hope to avoid — but say littering along the river is a constant problem despite the reprimands.

Tyler’s mother Lisa Ramadge is an ex-local who has camped in the area for the past 20 years.

‘‘The kids were just playing in the shallow bit of water — all of a sudden Tyler let out a massive squeal,’’ she said.

Tyler had a 2cm gash on the bottom of his foot from broken bottle pieces disguised in the murky water. The glass was found along with melted bottles which Ms Ramadge said looked to be the remains of a fire.

Ms Ramadge, a nurse, took Tyler to hospital where the wound was treated. But the incident meant the family holiday has been cut short for Tyler.

‘‘Poor Tyler, he just has to sit on the beach and watch now,’’ Ms Ramadge said.

‘‘He loves to get behind the boat and ski and go on the biscuit.’’

Tyler has been banned from swimming for the next few weeks.

‘‘The risk of infection from the river water is just too great,’’ Ms Ramadge said. ‘‘It’s put a real dampener on our family holiday.’’

The beach is a public beach that experiences increased traffic during summer holidays.

Ms Ramadge is concerned that care among campers in collecting their rubbish is lacking.

‘‘I’ve chatted to local friends that have come across glass bottles, fish hooks and litter this year,’’ she said.

‘‘I’ve been aware of it in the past but not to the extent of what it is now. It’s not just the kids and us it can harm, but wildlife and the environment too.’’

Parks Victoria ranger Chris Mercier said the authority took a no-tolerance approach to littering, and people caught doing so would be fined.

He said disposing of litter in fires was classed as aggravated littering under the Victorian Environment Protection Act.

Although littering along the river is an offence punishable by a fine, Mr Mercier said it was occurring far too frequently.

‘‘It is a constant problem,’’ he said.

‘‘People think that bottles just melt away in fires, but they don’t.

‘‘It’s a thoughtless act.’’

Ms Ramadge suggested the issue could be solved by making small changes to increase awareness and the safety of river camping.

‘‘We always buy cans instead of bottle and crush them when we come camping,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s the little things that make a difference and prevent accidents.’’

Ms Ramadge and her family will return to their home in Coldstream next week.

She hopes people learn from the lesson Tyler has experienced.

‘‘We need to make people realise the implications of simple little things,’’ Ms Ramadge said.

‘‘Change glass to bottles and dispose of them properly — it isn’t difficult.’’

Information on safe camping practices can be found on the Parks Victoria website or grab a copy of their annual newsletter the Murray River Guardian in any Parks Victoria office or tourism information centre.

An e-version is also available online.

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