This year's WA Beach Clean-Up event held on October 15th and 16th saw over 5 tonnes of rubbish removed from more than 200 kilometres of Western Australian coastline. Clean-ups were conducted from the Kimberley right through to the South Coast, including the Rowley Shoals. Volunteers took part removing close to 100,000 pieces of marine debris and litter from our beaches. The final statistics will be released with the annual WA Beach Clean Up report early in 2017.
This year's long cold winter deterred many people from getting out onto the beaches, particularly on the Saturday when a big swell, high tides and strong winds didn't leave much beach to be cleaned up in certain areas. Fortunately, Sunday brought sunshine to lure all the keen and eager volunteers and as a result the clean-ups were well attended and large volumes of rubbish were removed from our beautiful coastline.
Large volumes of rubbish were reported from many locations across the state, some areas reporting higher debris loads than in previous years. In more remote areas big sections of rope washed in from out to sea helped to boost the weight collected. On the other end of the scale rope fragments and microplastics were collected off these beaches in high numbers. In the more urban areas the rubbish collected tended towards locally sourced litter with high numbers of bottles, cans, cigarette butts, plastic food wrapping, plastic bags and other single use items being prevalent in the data collected.
Some interesting items were found across the state. These included half a canoe found near the Margaret Rivermouth; a brand-new selfie stick found on remote Deepdene Beach; a hospital bed complete with mattress found at Claytons Beach, a couch found in the dunes at Leighton Beach, a jerrycan filled with fuel at Karratha's Back Beach, over 500 straws at the Jindalee foreshore.
Black resin pellets were found along the North Fremantle Swan River foreshore. Similar pellets were found at other locations along the Swan River in the days to come triggering an enquiry from the Department of Environmental Regulation into where they are coming from.
Once all the data sheets have been received an annual report will be compiled by Tangaroa Blue. This will be made available on the Tangaroa Blue website, in the coming months.
The clean-up received funding from the State NRM Program, made possible by the State Government’s Royalties for Regions program. Tangaroa Blue Foundation would also like to thank Keep Australia Beautiful WA, South West Catchments Council, WA Department of Fisheries, Department of Parks and Wildlife and local government authorities around the state, as well as all the amazing volunteers for their ongoing support on this annual event.