Erosion, Swells and Lots of Hands on the Beach

The 9th annual WA Beach Clean Up saw over 1400 volunteers hit the beaches armed with clean up bags and gloves ready to make a difference. Held over the weekend of the 12th and 13th of October, this state-wide event saw beaches from north of Broome right through to Esperance and as far out as the Cocos Islands cleaned up.

It was perfect timing for the event, particularly in the south west where storms and nine metre swells have been battering the region, wreaking havoc on the coastline, causing major erosion in places, sweeping some beaches clean and depositing large amounts of ocean going debris on other stretches of coastline.

Reports are coming in from right around the state. Large volumes of rubbish have found in many locations with over half a tonne of rubbish removed from Challenger Beach in Kwinana and nearly one and a half tonne of rubbish picked up along a more isolated stretch of Geographe Bay between Busselton and Capel. The “Most Unusual Item Found” competition also looks like it will be hotly contested this year with nominated items including a car seat head rest, a kidnappers bag and approximately 5000m of long line fishing rope. Once all the data and information is in we invite the public to vote for the “Most Unusual Item Found” on the Tangaroa Blue Facebook page. The winner will be awarded a Tangaroa Blue pack including t-shirt, waterbottle and cap!

This year many people are remarking on the number of tiny plastic pieces they are finding on their beaches, certain beaches are littered with them. This indicates that the plastic has been in the environment for an extended period of time, photodegrading into smaller and smaller pieces. Also with the dunes on many beaches eroding away, rubbish that may have been buried for years is making its way to the surface and entering the ocean environment again.

A huge thank you is extended to everyone who helped out this weekend, to all the tireless volunteers, especially the clean-up site coordinators who worked hard to make this event a success. Ingrid Windsor who coordinated the Abbey Beach clean up near Busselton said “The kids were as excited as being on a treasure hunt and participated with huge enthusiasm. Apparently my eldest has recorded it as one of the highlights of her holidays”.

There are still a few clean ups that will take place over the coming week, so if you are interested in getting involved check out the clean up schedule.

The 2013 WA Beach Clean Up is proudly sponsored by Tangaroa Blue Foundation, Coastwest, Keep Australia Beautiful Council, South West Catchments Council, WA Department of Fisheries, Department of Parks and Wildlife and local government authorities around the state.

Photo: Mana, Shane and Rai Whittaker, Nila and Andre, Lisa, James, Eli, Callum and Isaac Thomas put their hands up to clean up Busselton’s foreshore.

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