Other applications depend on ingenuity. We have seen plastics pipes used in many ways, especially PVC pipe.
Time Capsule: Strathfield Girls' High School celebrated 50 years in 2003 and sealed a time capsule of memorabilia1 to be opened at the school's centenary.
A section of PVC pipe with screwed ends was donated by Iplex for the capsule, shown here after the sealing ceremony in the hands of one of the "oldgirls" who helped organise the jubilee celebrations.
Beer Holder: Ergonomic liquid handling equipment beats paying 40c for one of those moulded cardboard plastic cup holders.
This novel way of carrying cups of beer for mates was observed at a recent football match. PVC pipe lengths have been joined for a handle and holes drilled to hold the cups.
Beetle Cage: In the swamplands of Louisiana (USA) at the Baratarea Reserve we found a use for PVC pipe in an experiment to eradicate the weed covering the water.
This rectangle of floating pipe prevents the imported beetles from spreading while they consume the weed. This way a pest is being eliminated without introducing a new pest.
Water Weed Barrier: Parramatta Park rangers have found a novel and effective application for PVC pipe. A very large and popular reserve at the population centre of Sydney, Parramatta Park is used extensively by families and individuals for recreational activities. Passing through the park is Domain Creek which together with Toongabbie Creek form the headwaters of Parramatta River.
Domain Creek was badly choked by all types of water weeds. Parramatta Park Trust allocated $300,000 to return the section of creek passing through the park to its original natural state. Part of the work involved the removal and eradication of water weeds. This was done up to the park boundary and to prevent the weeds from returning to the cleared section the park rangers installed a simple, but very effective barrier using a 25 meter length PVC-U pipe. The photograph shows weed free section of the creek and a mountain of growing weeds downstream of the barrier.
Saving sharks: Nicknamed the "labradors of the sea" this endangered grey nurse shark was saved from certain death when she was found by divers with a gaff stuck in its throat. The gentle shark swimming near Julian Rocks in the Cape Byron Marine Park, NSW, was first thought to have attempted to swallow a broomstick. A crew of government divers searched for the shark, catching the fish with a lasso and then herding it into a perspex tunnel. They then brought it to the surface and lifted it onto a boat, using a crane.
The 2.97m-long shark was placed in a holding tank where it was examined and the gaff removed. This tricky situation called for a PVC pipe to protect the arm of Sea World vet David Blyde as he inserted it into the grey nurse shark's throat to remove the gaff with its hook. Once released, she swam back to the other sharks with an electronic tag, to be monitored by scientists and local divers.
Picture: Grahame Long, July 2008
Floating Artificial Island: The number of innovative applications for plastics pipes seems to be limitless. An inspection of the Wirraminna Education Centre in Burrumbuttock in southern NSW revealed another novel application for PVC pipes, a floating island sanctuary for nesting water birds. Wirraminna features a world acclaimed wet lands, bush and landscape that atracts schoolchildren as well as environmentalists and tourists from all over the world. It is a well designed education centre built on 4 ha of land showing a great diversity of native plants and associated wildlife.
A feature in one of the bigger ponds is a floating island anchored in the middle of the pond with buoyancy provided by three PVC pipes. The island provides a safe nesting place for water birds.