Over the month of March, Tangaroa Blue, along with partners and dedicated community members in the Townsville and Burdekin region, completed five clean-ups to celebrate Clean-up Australia Day and carry out projects supported by NQ Dry Tropics through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. The team of 74 participants to Townsville removed 175kg from the local shorelines and 19 Alva Beach locals added an extra 190kg from their beach.
The coast from Townsville to the Burdekin in North Queensland is lined with marine habitats that support entire ecosystems and wildlife that are vulnerable and endangered. To protect and conserve this critical habitat, clean-ups stretched from Shelly Cove to Pallarenda, to the waterways of Ross River that run out to Cleveland Bay, and further south to Alva Beach where the SS Yongala sunk offshore, becoming a famous dive site and a magnificent life-supporting ocean oasis.
These events were a great start to capturing baseline data for the upcoming Container Refund Scheme (1st November) and Plastic Bag Ban (1st of July) 2018. We’re hoping to to see much less drink containers during our clean-ups towards the end of the year as aluminium cans, glass and plastic bottles were very common items appearing at each of our clean-up sites.
The data collected from March will be analysed in local community Source Reduction Plan Workshops coming up on April 15th 2018 in Townsville and Burdekin communities. These workshops will also analyse data collected from previous years to determine what litter items are creating the greatest issue in our region and oceans. The aim is to pinpoint the sources of these litter items and develop source reduction plans that mitigate the release of debris into the environment.
The network of stakeholders, organisations and community members that have attended these workshops in the past have targeted plastic water bottles, straws and cigarette butts as the top three most concerning items that are discovered in quantities across Townsville and Burdekin areas. These items can be mitigated at the source of consumerism by engaging and educating the general population about the impacts of litter and marine debris, and how to reduce our plastic footprint by finding alternatives to live a waste-free lifestyle. The workshops are open to everyone so please come along if your are in the area.
Acknowledgements for supporting and participating in the clean-up events: Townsville City Council, Department of Natural Resources Mines & Energy, Queensland Parks & Wildlife, Conservation Volunteers Australia, Coastal Dry Tropics Landcare Inc, Burdekin Shire Council, Gudjuda Reference Group, Surf Life Savings Club Alva, Lion’s Club, James Cook University, St. Joseph’s Mundingburra and St. Anthony’s Catholic College.