West Australians turned out in force and proved their care for the marine environment by participating in the 15th annual WA Beach Clean-Up event over 19-20 October.
More than 1,000 volunteers from families, community, school and business groups registered to participate. These included one-person clean-ups to large groups of all ages at 110 sites across the State, from the remote Banjal Beach in the north Kimberley to Kanidal Beach on the South Coast.
Volunteers were urged to collect data for the Australian Marine Debris Initiative Database. We look forward to sharing more on what was found as the data is processed, but so far it seems that once again, plastic items top the list.
In a follow-up survey, respondents shared what they enjoyed most about getting involved in the event. The majority said they enjoyed feeling positive about doing something for the environment (95%) as well as participating with other like-minded people (48%) and enjoying a nice walk and spending time outdoors (48%).
While many people were very aware of marine debris issues, 85% of those surveyed said their participation in this event had influenced them to take action at home, work or community life.
“I’ll make an active effort to purchase less prepackaged items when shopping. I’ve even started a home herb and spice garden.”
“I want to join future clean-ups because of this experience, and also instill this sense of advocacy in my children.”
“I now collect rubbish lying around when I’m out and about and bin it properly.”
“I will take part in more clean-ups and will talk to boaters to make them more aware of the impact they have.”
Beach fossickers seeking quirky finds were not disappointed this year, with some very unusual items recorded. From a full photo album, a Rolex silver spoon and a 20-year old beer can, to our winner for the most unusual find this year- a complete IV drip line found on remote Kanidal Beach on the south coast.
Please save the date for 2020 and get involved on the weekend of the 10th and 11th October!
Further, as this event has shown us, plastic has a huge impact on our waterways and marine animals. We’re calling on everyone to play a part to reduce single-use plastic in our lives and those of our friends and family. Consider low-waste gifts at Christmas, and ditch single-use plastic for good. See some great gift ideas in our Sea Store.
Written by Maureen Maher
Feature Image supplied by XiaoJun Chen: Boys clean-up crew were part of the big event at Port Bouvard, Mandurah