Held on the 11th and 12th of October the WA Beach Clean Up weekend saw 130 beaches between Beagle Bay in the Kimberley and Norseman in the south of the state cleaned up. Clean ups were also conducted on the Abrolhos and Cocos Islands. Over 4.1 tonnes of rubbish was removed from the WA coastline thanks to the efforts of 1500 volunteers that took part. The rubbish collected was sorted and recorded for submission to the Australian Marine Debris Database. Over 78,739 individual items were found.
Large items were high on the list of things found during this year’s WA Beach Clean Up. A big bundle of rope and floats was found at Smiths Beach. Weighing close on 200kg it was removed from the rocks by tireless volunteers. Further south a huge foam buoy was found washed up on Deepdene Beach. A section of tug boat rope was reported on the rocks at Injidup, this took a team of people to remove. Closer to Mandurah a clean up at Whitehills Beach saw a trailer load of rubbish removed off a 3km section of coastline. Items found included a gas bottle, an outdoor table, a complete craypot, lots of rope, a wheel and much more. Long lengths of rope were a prevalent issue this clean up, especially in the south west. Rope floating in the ocean is particularly dangerous to marine life, it has the potential to entangle marine animals and is also a hazard to boats and ships.
Some of the more interesting finds included an esky full of unopened beer found in Binningup, a doona found on the beach at Alkimos and a strange collection of rope remnants all tied to the wire rope of the beach path in Rockingham. One gentleman at Woodman Point even got ‘paid’ for his clean up efforts when he found himself a $5 note and a brand new fishing lure. A few other lucky individuals found themselves some valuable plastic ‘rubbish’ – finding money too during their clean ups in both Busselton and Binningup.
Carol Sutherland who coordinated a clean up at Doddi’s Beach in Mandurah said ‘We only had a small group of us today and the beach was relatively clean, so we didn’t get a lot of rubbish. But all in all, a good day, and a sense of achievement that we helped out our environment.’ This reflects the sentiments of the many volunteers cleaning up across the state. A huge thank you is extended to everyone who took part in the WA Beach Clean Up, including the clean-up site coordinators who worked hard to make this event a success.
Once all the WA Beach Clean Up data has been submitted Tangaroa Blue will be running Source Reduction Plan workshops in each of the five coastal NRM regions to look at the data and work on local reduction plans. This is a very important step in turning back the plastic tide we find continually washing up on our shores.
The 2014 WA Beach Clean Up was proudly sponsored by Tangaroa Blue Foundation, Coastwest, Keep Australia Beautiful WA, South West Catchments Council, WA Department of Fisheries, Department of Parks and Wildlife and local government authorities around the state.
A full report on the event will be available at www.tangaroablue.org in the coming months.