The surprising truth about the iconic Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour is arguably iconic due to the tourist destinations around it, including the Sydney Harbour Bridge as well as the Sydney Opera House.

Sydney Harbour is the major contributor to the $21.9 billion that Sydney tourism pumps into Australia’s economy.

In shocking news, Sydney’s famous harbour is one of the most polluted waterways in the country.

The harbour receives around 15 Olympic-size swimming pools of pollutants each year, which makes the iconic harbour dirty.

In a new video called Sydney Harbour Above and Below, the waters around Sydney Harbour are filled with plastic bags, bottles, lost shoes and cigarette butts but the biggest issue is plastic.

“I would call it a paradox,” Dr Katherine Dafforn, deputy director of the Sydney Harbour Research Program said in the video, which was released to coincide with World Tourism Day on September 27.

“It does look beautiful, but it is one of the more modified and polluted estuaries along our coastline.”

Although many think that rain is good for the ocean, this documentary proves that isn’t the case.

“After we have some of these really big rainfall events, the harbour … it’s quite tragic,” Dr Dafforn said.

“Two thirds of our pollution comes from stormwater run-off.”

Jeremy Brown, co-founder and managing director of the Ocean Protect said that there are ways that tourists and locals can ease the amount of plastic entering the Harbour.

“It has to start at the source,” he said.

“We have to reduce the amount of plastic that we are using, recycle better and be more conscious about what is going down our drains which ultimately ends up in our oceans. If we ruin the ocean, we are going to kill ourselves because 50 per cent of the oxygen we breathe comes from the ocean. It absorbs 30 per cent of carbon dioxide and our food source.

“But we can fix this harbour and bring it back to where it was, but it’s pretty simple. If we kill our oceans, we kill ourselves.”

This article originally appeared on Over60.