Most older cities have what are called combined sewers (there is a good wikipedia article on it) and have to deal with this problem in various ways.
This is a common story around the world but Prop 13 adds the wrinkle that it mostly affects new buyers and people who haven’t figured out how to pass property to their descendants without resetting the tax assessment. That guy who bought a place in PB with his back pay when he got out of the Navy is still paying $100 a year in taxes. He has a massive incentive not to do anything which will reset that, so the city won’t be getting more revenue that way until he (or his heirs) sell the place.
IIRC, there are physical limitations on the city's ability to filter sewage and stormwater -- it all runs through the same pipes, and it would be a momentous undertaking to split the systems (some of those pipes are 200+ years old, and aren't accurately mapped). Wastewater treatment capacity is slowly increasing, however.
Oh, and hydrodynamic separators claim to catch oils, too.
And what about cost?
Some people have suggested a vacuum may be easier. But a council in Australia always has bulldozers and rubbish trucks available, so it may fit better into that existing infrastructure
If we make it legally mandatory to put such a filter in every house then it will often get clogged and cost money and people will learn not to flush down the waste in toilet.
I read somewhere that people learn best when mistakes cost them money.
Imagine hotels having a massive filter then some might want to install sensors in individual drainage pipe coming from the individual units and charge their customers based on the amount of waste they flush down the toilet which ends up costing the money to hotel on subsequent cleanup.
A net applied to pipes intended to transport faeces would presumably need holes so big it couldn't catch condoms, sanitary products or wet wipes.
That seems exceedingly expensive for a net and a metal ring to hold it (maybe because drainage outlets aren’t standard sizes?), but I’m impressed with the claims of how effective it is.
In general, Australian's culture is to use rubbish bins and keep things tidy.
Sidepoint: I am not sure if it is something only Australians do, but whenever something about Australia comes up, there will be an Australian there bemoaning how badly we do things. Yes, there is always room for improvement, but Australia is so far ahead of most countries in just about any measure that you choose, that one has to wonder where this sentiment stems from.
And there are a number of areas where we certainly aren't ahead either.
Whether the discussion be about environment, politics, innovation, corruption, you name it, some Australian will start moaning about how badly we do X.
I.e., there's no "Australia" program to install these nets, as far as I know.
In the Thames they have flotsam collectors that rubbish ends up as the tide tos and fros along the river, it's called a passive driftwood collector:
It's very much like those carnival crane games where you try to lift a prize out of a glass box. I'm not sure how often it's emptied, but at the time it was full of rubbish.
Seeing as a city reservoir is not far away I can understand why they would want to filter as much as possible before it floats that way.
More info on the company manufacturing those http://stormwatersystems.com/trash-traps/
They also make trash collecting bots boats.
On the other one tho.. invest in coal power plants, which will only make drought issues bigger.
> So what if people were lied to?
This is fairly serious when you consider that this is the entity which takes a portion of your working income as tax to provide services based on the needs of the community. If the policies which are decided on are based on a misinformed public opinion, then the services which are actually required (as opposed to being perceived as being required) are not delivered.
> Is the government the citizenry's only source of information?
Obviously not, but to claim that there is not a significant perception of truth in a lot of people's eyes when it comes to what a sitting government says is naive.
> Do they even trust the government?
See above, many do.
> Are there not competing sources of information?
This is a discussion in itself. The Murdoch groups own over two-thirds of the media outlets in this country (something like 64% according to a quick glance at wikipedia ). It is no small secret that this organisation has a lot of influence in Australia and has swayed public opinions previously on various topics, and there's a plethora of articles discussing this .
> What basis do you have for concluding that the Australian government has any significant ability to sway the opinion of its citizens?
I'd put the onus of proof on you for this one, what makes you think that they do not? Governments spend tens of millions of dollars in prime-time advertising with the sole intention of sway opinions of citizens. This seems beyond ridiculous to me that you would want to make that point.
Look, your point is that the government lies to people and that this influences they way they vote. I’m sure that has some marginal effect. But here you are completely unaffected by these lies. So what’s the difference between you and somebody who votes differently? Is it that they are a hopeless rube who has been taken in? You seem to think so. But you have not demonstrated at all that it isn’t an alternative hypothesis which explains their different voting record. And the alternative hypothesis that I would put forward is that their different political leanings account for most of their different voting record. And that their lack of concern about the veracity of the information put out by the government is a result of these different political leanings, not its cause.
I could be an expat from another country for all you know.
(Note: This isn't the case, but it well could be. Don't make assumptions. That's why a higher level discussion is better than getting pissy at each other and trying to level attacks - which is what you're doing.)
But the conservative side of politics managed to make it all about jobs, even though the mine, being highly automated, will deliver very little. I believe the most the company expects is about 1600 (even though for years they were claiming 10,000 which still isn't that many). I believe more people have already been employed installing and maintaining renewable energy this year than will ever be employed by this mine, if it ever gets funded (a lot of banks have said they wouldn't fund it because of the environmental problems, as well as the fact that it doesn't seem like it will stack up economically, because the extra supply will likely push down prices making it, as well as other mines in the state less profitable - possibly to the point of unviability).
So it turned into this culture war over coal based on a mine that probably won't go ahead and even if it does won't actually give the community the jobs it needs...
No, western countries are not perfect. Yes, the vast majority of ocean waste comes from poor, non-Western countries. The US, 3rd largest country by population, is #20 for ocean pollution. China alone produces 1/3 of all ocean waste.
USA: 0.34kg per person per day
China: 0.12kg per person per day (just under a third of the US figure).
In cultural terms, China is already far ahead of the USA in terms of individual responsibility.
Edit: Though your point on the handling of waste itself still stands (at least according to 2010 figures)
I would not call it individual responsibility. It’s called poverty.
And it's a given that if you're transporting garbage to a landfill, some of it isn't going to make it that far and will eventually end up in the ocean. Maybe they are just dumping it as you say, but just the fact that some of it ends up there isn't evidence of that fact.
The fact is that US companies are paying for a disposal service. What that disposal service does is up to them, and if they just throw in the water then it's their fault alone. Maybe there should be some regulations there to ensure recycling companies actually do some recycling.
That it's not being recycled.
The problem is still the production of the materials in the first place.
Putting plastic in a dump is much better than letting it kill animal after animal, decomposing into smaller pieces and getting into the food chain.
Ideally we design most plastics out, but barring that recycling would be fine - and just burying it is still much better than either burning or letting it drift into oceans.
I know it seems small, but it has a downgrading effect on conversation. Also, it often doesn't seem small to the person being addressed that way (or some other readers who happen upon it).
But wouldn't you rather have all this garbage collected somewhere, than scattered throughout the river and beyond?