The threat of marine debris on the marine environment is well documented, but ways to stop the never ending flow of plastics into our marine environment have been hard to find, implement and enforce. So we are left with mitigation strategies involving the removal of debris from the coastline to prevent it from being washed back into the ocean rather than finding ways of stopping it from getting there in the first place. That’s why the South West Beach Clean Up was created and now in its 6th year, the event is bigger than ever!
Over the weekend of October 9th & 10th the 2010 South West Beach Clean Up took place with over 720 volunteers cleaning up 90 coastal sites between Geraldton and Albany. The total amount of debris that was collected was staggering! More than 48,015 individual pieces of debris were removed weighing over 3,000kg! That’s 48,015 threats that have been removed from the marine environment helping to protect the 267 species that are impacted by marine debris worldwide!
The Top 10 Items Found:
|Plastic hard pieces||10.945|
|Broken Glass Pieces||3,716|
|Fishing Line – Metres||1,760|
|Commercial Fishing Remnants||1,728|
|Plastic Film Remnants||1,558|
|Plastic Food Wrapping||1,527|
The most bizarre item found included items originating from blasting operations including detonator shock tube ususally referred to as “red cord”, clips associated with the detonator apparatus and fragments of explosives casing. Also found were medical waste thought to have originated from shipping and included injection capsules containing Frusemide (a diuretic), injection needles and other medical packaging and an emergency drinking water kit.
The beaches that had the most rubbish were:
- Coodamurrup Beach in the D’Entrecasteaux National Park, where 22 volunteers removed 1,483 items weighing approximately 400kg!
- Pyramids Beach in Mandurah where 27 volunteers removed 312 items weighing approximately 200kg!
- Binningup Beach, where 48 volunteers removed 2,515 items weighing approximately 200kg!
A big thank you to all the volunteers for their massive efforts! Also we would like to thank Coastwest, Keep Australia Beautiful Council WA, South West Catchments Council, Department of Fisheries, Department of Environment and Conservation, all the local government agencies for their logistical support, community groups, schools and media that supported the event.
In 2011 we will be inviting volunteers from around the whole state of Western Australia to join the WA Beach Clean Up! This event will be held over the weekend of October 15 & 16, and we hope to have volunteers register beaches along the entire WA coast. Make sure you put these dates in your diary and rally up some friends to help keep our oceans clean and healthy!