On March 3rd, James Cook University’s Research Towards Action on Plastic Pollution (RTAPP) internship team participated in the Celebrate the Sea Festival for Clean Up Australia Day. Celebrate the Sea Festival attracted hundreds of volunteers who came to help take part in cleaning up Pallarenda Beach in Townsville.
Team member Amanda Vegter, a Masters student at JCU commented “It was pretty disappointing to see the enormous amount of trash, especially plastic, left or washed up on such a beautiful beach, but it was really inspiring to see all of the people who were willing to come out and do their part in helping to clean up and make some changes.”
The RTAPP team and volunteers were quickly at work sorting the rubbish collected. Seven stations were marked over several kilometres of beach allowing people to begin and end their clean up where they chose. The bags were then collected and taken to the main site for sorting.
Over the course of the morning RTAPP was able to power through 45 full bags of rubbish weighing, an estimated 245 kilograms! Items collected in this sorting were 1,015 remnants of hard plastic remnants, 595 plastic bags, 238 plastic containers, 187 drink bottles, 166 pieces of foam packaging insulation, 29 thongs, and a few large fishing nets and crab pots. A few recreational items found were golf balls, tennis balls, and even a deflated air mattress.