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What to Do During Lockdowns

By Dr Marjorie O'Neill, Member for Coogee on August 5, 2021 in Other

To bee or not to bee. Photo: Bee Yonsay

Over the last few weeks, I have had plenty of chats with friends, family and constituents who have been desperate to find interesting and permissible things to do, either alone or with family. It has been particularly challenging for those with school-aged children whose holiday plans were abruptly impacted by a lockdown. Trying to keep everyone entertained while adhering to the NSW health orders has not been easy for many, especially those families living in small apartments.
Here are three low-cost activities to keep you and your family busy while helping out the environment along the way.

1. Adopt a drain
Did you know that every street in the Randwick local government area has stormwater drains? When it rains, the water flows down the street and into the drains. Along the way, the water picks up whatever is left on the street and carries it along. These stormwater drains empty into our beaches, ponds and river systems.
The most effective way to reduce stormwater pollution is by stopping it entering the system in the first place and making sure that we all take responsibility for putting our trash in the bin. If you would like to do a bit more, you can formally ‘adopt a drain’, give it a name and download a certificate of adoption, which you can share on social media. Regularly clean your drain (especially before a downpour) to make sure trash and waste does not end up where it shouldn’t.
I have personally adopted a drain outside my office, named Derik, that my office staff and I care for. You can learn more at www.randwick.nsw.gov.au/services/health-environment-and-regulation/pollution/beach-pollution.

2. Build a bee bath
Times are tough for the tiny-yet-important bee. Climate change, pollution and pesticides are causing bee colonies to disappear globally. Since the 1940s, bee populations have steadily been on the downturn. Creating a bee friendly garden is a wonderful way to help bees, but there is more to this than just growing flowers.
The phrase ‘busy bee’ didn’t just spring from nowhere. Collecting pollen is thirsty work! Unfortunately, bees don’t land with much finesse. By making a bee bath in your backyard, on your balcony, on your street verge or any other clever place you can identify, you will help our fuzzy friends stay hydrated and avoid crash-landing in deep water where they can drown.
All you need is a shallow dish, stones or marbles and fresh water. Select a spot that is shady and protected. Fill your shallow dish with marbles or stones, then simply fill it with just enough water so the rocks or marbles are not submerged. You can also have some fun decorating the stones and dish.

3. Take three (or more) for the sea on your daily walk
As part of the NSW health orders, one of the reasons you are permitted to leave the house is for exercise. Next time you head out for a walk, I suggest bringing a bag and gloves to pick up some rubbish along the way. Small things left on the side of our streets like wrappers and plastics end up in our waterways and contribute to beach and ocean water pollution. You can make this a game and see who can pick up the most trash. If we each take three (or more) for the sea, we are all doing our little bit to keep our beaches and oceans clean.

Over the past few weeks we have once again witnessed amazing acts of kindness and generosity throughout the east, including many offers of help to those in high-risk groups facing greater isolation. We have also seen a blossoming in creativity, with an abundance of freshly painted rocks and garden pots, bottles recycled into gorgeous vertical gardens and plant cuttings galore.
If you have an idea for low-cost fun activity that benefits our environment, particularly if it is something we can do during a lockdown, please share it on your social media and let me know by tagging me. It is always good to be prepared! And some things are just worth doing, even if we are not in lockdown!

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