We were all really keen to see how much debris had washed up on Chilli Beach in a 12 month period, hoping that after our cleansweep of the beach last year we would be in for a more relaxing clean up event this year, but unfortunately relaxation was not to be part of the schedule this year either!
With the help of 60 volunteers over a five day period, the entire 6.5km of Chilli Beach in the Kutini-Payamu National Park on Cape York’s east coast was given a thorough clean during the first week of August.
More than 4.91 tonnes of debris was removed, including ghost nets, gas cylinders, a jet ski and thousands of plastic bottles, containers and broken fragments. And of course we counted each and every thong that was found and reached a total of 4,757 thongs! Even more than last year!!
This area is important habitat for turtles, crocodiles, birds and other marine life, as well as an iconic stretch of beach in Cape York and is significantly impacted by marine debris, mostly coming from international sources. Over 90% of the debris found is made of plastic, which remains in the environment indefinitely unless removed by clean up efforts. In such a remote area, most of the debris from clean ups go straight to the local landfill, which eventually gets buried or burnt, but with the support of the Cook Shire, who provided a baler and operators, 7 cubic metres of plastic were baled and send to Brisbane for recycling, diverting it from the local landfill.
This event is made possible by the support of partners and volunteers and we would like to thank the local Queensland Parks and Wildlife Rangers, Cook Shire, Kuuku Ya’u Traditional Owners, Lockhart River State School, Conservation Volunteers Australia, Kawadji Kanidji Land 30306 EEG Logo low& Sea Rangers, Revolve Your World, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Cape York NRM and all our awesome volunteers who made the trip up to Chilli Beach for an adventure packed week!
This event was funded through an Everyone’s Environment Grant.