This past weekend saw over 2000 volunteers out on beaches across Western Australia taking part in the 13th Annual West Australian Beach Clean-Up, hosted by Tangaroa Blue Foundation with support from Keep Australia Beautiful WA. Across the state over 120 beaches and stretches of coastline where clean-up, from easy to access Perth metropolitan beaches to remote locations like Dirk Hartog Island and Eyre Bird Observatory. Beautiful warm weather in the south west made for perfect conditions to be out on the beaches giving them a spring clean.
Final numbers are yet to be tallied but photos and feedback supplied so far indicate a successful event with tonnes of rubbish once again removed from our coastline. Some interesting finds included 16 socks collected off the beach in Dalyellup, a rusted can of epoxy resin that was leaching into the surrounding environment at Forrest Beach, emergency water ration packages with expiry dates of 8/2017 at South Beach in the south west and Leeman in the mid-west, six plastic pallets at Deepdene and South Beach, a special mark navigation buoy at Busselton, and a large number of tree guards in Dunsborough many of which were in various states of degradation.
A drawcard for volunteers attending the Tangaroa Blue Foundation run beach clean-up at Woodman Point was the opportunity to win free tickets to Tangaroa Blue’s partner Jack Johnson’s concert in Perth in December.
Large numbers attended individual events with Keep Australia Beautiful WA having 100 volunteers at their clean-up at Hillarys. With that many hands helping out they were able to remove 85 kg of rubbish including more than 1175 cigarette butts,144 straws and plastic cutlery, 650 food wrappers, 201 aluminium cans, 106 glass bottles and 99 plastic bottles. Data like this provides a good baseline to show the effects of the Container Deposit Levy once it is rolled out in Western Australia.
103 volunteers attended a clean-up at Cocos Islands, with 125 bags were collected from 500m of foreshore and coastline on Home Island with an average weight of 15kg per bag. This shows the enormity of the problem our offshore islands face from ocean going marine debris.
There were great reports of custodianship of beach locations this year, with feedback about how little rubbish was collected due to ongoing work by locals in their day to day visits to the beach. Pamela Bremner from Binningup Coastcare and Environment Group said ‘We have educated the community so well that we are finding people collecting debris from the beach each time they take their daily dog or exercise walks.’ Steve Fairbairn from Friends of Redgate said ‘Beaches were really clean and I commend the attitude of the local surfers who always try to keep it that way.’
Data from each clean-up is submitted into the Australian Marine Debris Database – Since 2004 nearly 9 million pieces of data (i.e. items of marine debris) have been entered into the database creating a comprehensive overview of what amounts and types of marine debris are impacting beaches around Australia. People can contribute to this database all year round. Once all the data sheets from this year’s event have been received an annual report will be compiled by Tangaroa Blue. This will be made available on the Tangaroa Blue website: www.tangaroablue.org in the coming months.
Tangaroa Blue Foundation would like to to thank Keep Australia Beautiful WA, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and local government authorities around the state, as well as all the amazing volunteers for their ongoing support on this annual event.