VMN PODCAST#001| TRUTH BOMBS dropped by Environmental Engineer! (Part 1)

VMN PODCAST#001| TRUTH BOMBS dropped by Environmental Engineer! (Part 1)


My names Brad Dalrymple, I’m an environmental
engineer which is my job so I have a, I think it’s a cool job I think one of the
coolest jobs around. one of the few people that actually works in the
industry you studied ? Yeah you went to uni for it? I actually did a degree called
a Bachelor of environmental engineering. And low and behold I am an I’m
still an environmental engineer. How long have you been doing this? it’s 18 years
can you believe that? I can yeah so You’re pretty old! (Brad Laughs hysterically) But honestly it’s a great job and I
feel very blessed to do a job that I really enjoy and and work on an issue
that I’m super passionate about. I’m not sure that many people even know what an
environmental engineer is? If you think about what it’s called it’s like you’re
designing the environment to be cohesive with us that’s what sounds like. Yeah kind of yeah, it’s it’s really hard, it’s a really hard thing to describe, I don’t
even know what an environmental engineer does or is but what but I just think
like it really varies like you can work in all sorts of areas so there’s air
pollution, water pollution, soil contamination, waste management all sorts
of different areas but I think fundamentally an environmental engineer
is looking at ways in which to reduce and mitigate the impact on the
environment from things, whether that be a development or an activity, humans or
humans yes I try and basically get humans or work with humans to minimize
the human impact on our environment. But what we always almost always see is what
is good for the environment is good for humans. We are the environment. Exactly!
This whole disconnect of humans in environment it’s just it doesn’t exist.
We are absolutely intrinsically in a gazillion different ways connected to
the environment. I think that’s the big thing that I guess environmental
engineers and other environmental type professionals and activists try to put
or get across is that everything we do is linked to everything else. What I can
tell you is what I do for a job and I work for a company called Ocean Protect,
and it’s basically about protecting the oceans with a focus on protecting the
oceans from pollution. The problem of ocean plastic you know the amount of plastic in our oceans, plastic island , all those things we’ve heard of, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. So there’ll be
more plastic mass than the mass of fish in our oceans by 2050. That sounds
shocking and it is I’m not at all surprised. There’s a lot of attention
on the that problem, but what again what I see is that people are often not
connecting the cause of that problem to the problem and so one thing that I try and create an awareness of is okay where is that pollution coming from? and research indicates that we think about 80 percent of all ocean plastic
comes from land-based sources, and primarily that’s storm water run off, so
when water like when rain falls on the ground, on our streets, on our
car parks, on our shopping centers, on our whatever, that generally washes straight
into our waterways and carrying all the pollution that goes with it. The common pollutants that we see the visible stuff is like cigarette butts, and plastic
wrappers, and plastic single-use bottles, and that sort of stuff.
But there’s also a whole bunch of less visible pollutants as well like heavy
metals and bacteria, and sort of other sort of nasty chemicals, which are very
damaging to the health of our oceans and ultimately us, but
we’re trying to essentially mitigate that problem essentially try to you know
reduce the pollution at the source if we can and if necessary intercept that
pollution and capture it as well instead of it going to our oceans. Right. And also
pushing for an awareness of this issue too. yeah exactly it’s look it’s an easy
message for me to create, like it’s an easy issue for me to create awareness of
because it’s, once you see the problem, you’re super-passionate. No one’s advocating for more plastic in our oceans, thankfully. No, no. In our
day-to-day life we see it. We lift up drain access covers and look inside some of the assets that we put into intercept the pollution
and it’s staggering. That is working? Absolutely, yeah! Great And what we see though, like
with storm water for example, is that where assets are put in the ground and
are appropriately maintained and in their most simple form they’re like
little underground garbage bins so Storm water comes in for through
the pipe and this little underground garbage bin intercepts the pollution. where they’re put in and where they’re maintained they’re fantastic! We
pull out so much pollution it would blow people’s mind, but the reality is in
Australia, we think about 90 to 95% of all our urban areas just have no
storm water treatment at all. Wow. Nothing. So if water falls on the ground bang, into all
the pipe in the ocean. Wow And where often assets like storm water treatment assets are installed they don’t get maintained. So the underground garbage bin might
just fill up and just overflow, so new pollution comes in and just spills
straight out. So we’re advocating for that change. So for example where we’ve
sent out of open letter to about over 2,000 politicians across Australia,
and we’re actually communicating with those politicians with face-to-face
meetings and stuff, nothing as cool as a podcast chat with you Ven, Ah thanks Brad. but yeah we’re liaising with politicians and like Mayors, Senators, etc to essentially try
to achieve what we’re calling a zero litter to ocean target. So we don’t want
anymore litter going into our oceans nobody does! Nobody wants that. Yeah but we
need to you know, it’s one thing to want something it’s another thing to actually
do something about and actually achieve it. and look at the takes hard work,
and resources, and to be honest, money to actually do it. For example the state of California
have set themselves a goal of zero litter to ocean. So anything bigger than
a cigarette butt in the state of California will not discharge into any
waterway in California in the next I think they’re they started that
initiative in 2009 and they going to probably achieve it in about five or 10
years. If they can do it, we can. Yeah I do recall seeing a fair bit of litter
surfing by the Venice pier, Yeah! When I lived there. that litter at Venice pier, that litter would
come from land in California. Dude, I saw a dirty diaper, nappy, yeah, in the water
in the ocean, in the waves, like pristine day, glassy two-foot right-handers off
the pier, and a poo fill nappy . Yeah it’s disgusting! What?! it is disgusting and we
do use the oceans as our dumping ground. Like we take out of sight out of mind, that’s
the thing about storm water that’s like it is out of sight out of mind. We’ve
developed these fantastic drainage systems to get storm water away as
quickly and efficiently as possible, to mitigate flooding and other property
damage. But in doing so our water our creeks and rivers and oceans have become our sewers and dumping grounds it’s not right. And again that part of my job I’m
gonna change that. And is that what this thing is? Yeah this is actually a little
bit of a prototype this is one of the sort of systems that we sell, this is a
prototype, so it basically shows it’s in a perspex container, shows one of the
devices we put in and all it is is a glorified garden bed. Right. So instead of storm
water going into a pit into a pipe into a waterway, this actually, imagine storm
would come into like a large sort of garden bed area or a sort of a large
Basin area and what we just basically soaked through this mulch layer and this
fancy fillterra media, and as it drains through it absorbs a whole bunch
of pollution it makes the storm water a lot cleaner. So not only just
removes, what I’m talking about removing stuff that you can’t even see like
there’s a microscopic bacteria, heavy metals. You were saying earlier when we were chatting about it, this is just a scale model, you can make them any size right? Yeah we can put
them into any garden bed, like in it’s most simple form it could be as small as
this table. At one point 0.9 meter by 0.9 meter like a little tree
pit, or it could be as big as like a 2,000 square meter, system so but
this is just one sort of asset type we do but this treats water to
a really really high standard. What we’re calling for Australia to do is really in
its most simple form stop litter! So it’s really easy to remove five anything
bigger than five millimeters you just need some sort of like a little
underground garbage bin we can treat a lot of water in a very small amount of
space. Pretty simple. It needs a bit of mojo, to do that. Yeah it does need a bit. But we want the community to make that connection. Yeah, when the community
demands it that’s when it arrives. Totally. And that’s the thing like whilst we’re
sort of lobbying politicians and getting a lot of you know good sort of feedback
from politicians, and to be honest when I’ll give you an example I won’t mention any
names but I met with a state senator just recently very environmentally
conscious you know leader in environmental sort of
advocacy in Australia, and we showed him some of the footage of the pollutants
that we see in our assets like underground garbage bins and they were
like, “WHOA! I had I had no idea I had no idea” and we actually did a survey of a
nationwide survey of about thousand Australians recently and we said what do
you guys think where is the where is most of the plastic coming from? Is it litter discarded at the beach? Is it sewage like with micro-plastics out of your laundry in your bathrooms. is it fishing nets? or
commercial? Sort of basically people dumping rubbish at sea. Or is it storm water or is it something else? And whilst we know, whilst I know that
80% of ocean plastic comes from predominatly storm water only about twenty
four percent of the Australian population think that. Got it right. Most people think,
sorry, about a quarter think it think it is discarded at sea. So fishing
nets, and people just throwing their bait bags over the boat. Another quarter
thought it was litter discarded at the beach. And another quarter thought it was microplastics. Microplastics they’re a massive issue but they’re only a very small percentage of the overall pollutant load. Everyone recognizes the
problem but they don’t and there’s a lack of awareness about the cause of
that problem. Sure yeah. An analogy we like to use is, okay if you’re if you walk into your kitchen, okay and the sinks running there’s a plug into the sink and
the water is going in the sink and it’s overflowing. And it’s spilling all
the water out on the floor making a mess what do you do? Do you grab
the mop and the bucket? or do you turn the tap off? What we’re seeing is people
are going straight, I mean when it comes to ocean plastic
which is a massive problem, people are going straight to the mop and the bucket. Like say for example Boyan slat has got you know raised millions of dollars for
this great ocean cleanup initiative, which is a fantastic initiative. But it’s a
mop and a bucket solution. Pete Galinsky you might have seen around Australia he’s
installed a whole bunch of these sea bins around all these harbours and
waterways around Australia. Again capturing pollution when it’s already in
the harbour environment. Again fantastic, but it’s a mop and a bucket solution. We need to stop the flow of pollution into our oceans if we’ve got any chance of
actually making a you know, of solving this problem of ocean plastic.
You can you can hear me talk about it as well. Yeah I can talk about this till the cows come home. You can tune in to the Ocean Protect Podcast, Which is available on, if you have a Iphone, it’s on all the Podcast App if you have it. It’s on all the Podcast apps. Spotify. All the channels, you can hear Brad talk all about this stuff. I actually, along the same line I would
like to change the tack a little bit and ask, how finding out all of this
information and seeing it for yourself learning it over this last 18 years, how
has it affected you personally in your spiritual growth and your understanding
of kindness, compassion, living this world cohesively I’m sure there’s it’s a
huge topic for me to ask anyway. How do you feel about what you’ve learned impacting your daily life? it impacts your life on so many different ways it’s it’s almost hard to describe it would be
a year-long podcast. It would. I’ll give you a few little tidbits of insight. Highlights? or number one, it’s not a highlight it actually makes you very
despondent, depressed, when you see the enormity of not just ocean
plastic problems but you know the extent of deforestation, climate change,
biodiversity loss, the plight of billions of animals getting slaughtered
unnecessarily in slaughterhouses around the planet. There are so many
environmental issues that make you just feel despondent and depressed and it’s
just ,you think what’s the point? That’s that’s very tough. It’s sometimes
ignorance would be bliss. But for who? But for who? Yeah exactly. And if I was just stick
my head in the sand and not worry about the vast majority of sea turtles
with plastic in their belly or the 99% of seabirds with plastic in their
bellies and dying slow and painful deaths. If I wasn’t aware of that, or sort
of just doing anything about it, or just ignored it,
yeah that would probably be really a nice situation, for me, but not for them. Yeah For sure.

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