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Record Breaking and Back Breaking Chilli Beach Clean-up!

20170817 Chilli Beach 1Tangaroa Blue Foundation breaks its own record for the largest amount of marine debris removed during a single beach clean-up event.

Over 5 days, 40 people cleared a massive 7 tonnes of marine debris from 6.7km of coastline on Chilli Beach, Kutini-Payamu National Park in Cape York.

Tangaroa Blue Foundation CEO Heidi Taylor states "It’s a testament to what can be achieved by a dedicated team with a united effort to keep our oceans clean. Not only did the volunteer team remove marine debris from the beach, but they recorded data on everything that was collected which is vital to provide evidence that informs policy making and strategies which tackle marine debris at the source."

Some of the most common items filling the 831.5 bags which were filled during this clean-up event included:
1009 cigarette lighters20170817 Chilli Beach 2
2279 toothbrushes/combs/razors
3204 bleach bottles
3325 plastic drink bottles
5547 thongs
Over 60% of debris removed was plastic fragments. This is becoming quite alarming as we are leaving a legacy for future generations. Although over 90% of the debris does not originate from Australia, but from our Asia Pacific neighbours, we share a global ocean and it is everyone’s responsibility to keep our oceans clean. One clean-up volunteer stated that "single use plastics are used for convenience, but the impacts on our marine ecosystems are far from convenient."

The success of these beach clean-up events is due to its community engagement at a grassroots level. Not only were there volunteers from Tangaroa Blue, but also from Clean Coast Collective, Conservation Volunteers Australia, as well as Kuuku Ya'u Traditional Owners, Rangers and school children from the Lockhart River State School. Volunteers had travelled from as far as Perth, Victoria and Byron Bay as well as a cohort from Cairns to Port Douglas. There was a cross section of ages from 6 to 70+ participating which shows that this in an intergenerational concern.

Not to be disheartened, as there is a new wave of young environmental scientists that are both practical and have intellectual rigour giving hope as the future guardians of the planet. There are simple alternatives to single use plastics that people can make in their everyday choices like bamboo toothbrushes, glass or metal water bottles and cloth shopping bags as a start.

This event was made possible with invaluable financial support from Federal Government funding through the Improving Your Local Parks and Environment grants. Tangaroa Blue would also like to acknowledge Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Kuuku Ya'u Rangers, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources Biosecurity officers, and Cook Shire who were also integral to the clean-up.

For more information on how you can be an ocean warrior contact Tangaroa Blue on www.tangaroablue.org.