Cape York is one of Australia’s marine debris hotspots, and a challenging environment to work in. Over the past week, Tangaroa Blue and a team from Conservation Volunteers Australia have managed to remove debris from some ten kilometres of beach at Captain Billy’s Landing. This has been achieved with the assistance of volunteers, indigenous rangers from the Apudthama Land & Sea Rangers and staff from Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.
Working together, over 41,000 pieces of rubbish were removed, totalling 2.3 tonnes. Over half of the items were plastic fragments highlighting the legacy of plastics in the environment. There were 2,495 thongs, and over 2,160 P.E.T. drink bottles. 11 cubic meters of plastics were diverted from landfill through Tangaroa Blues partnership with Parley For The Oceans marine debris recycling program. Also recovered were over two kilometres of rope and a pile of commercial fishing gear, both Australian and foreign, including ghost nets and crates. One of the volunteers from Japan remarked “I often do beach cleaning on my own in Australia, and I realised that a lot of this rubbish was different to what I usually find – a huge amount was from Asian countries and off fishing boats, the impact on marine animals made me very sad. I feel very grateful to be a part of this Tangaroa Blue Cape York clean up, and to be able to make a difference.”,/p>
Volunteers and partners contributed 550 hours, not only removing the debris but sorting and documenting what was found. This is entered into the Australian Marine Debris Initiative Database, which is used to trace debris to its source, with a view to preventing it entering the ocean.
Funding for this work came from the Queensland Government’s Everyone’s Environment program which has also provided funding the next two Tangaroa Blue Cape York clean ups at Chilli Beach in mid-July and in Mapoon at the end of August. If you’d like to volunteer in these adventure Cape York clean-up events visitwww.tangaroablue.org for more information.