Volunteers Tackle New Challenge on Cape York

The wild, windy and remote site of Captain Billy’s Landing has just seen a dedicated team of volunteers from Tangaroa Blue Foundation, Conservation Volunteers Australia, Apudthama Land & Sea Rangers, QPWS Rangers and Cape York NRM conduct a beach clean-up along 7km of Cape York’s windswept coastline.

As part of the Australian Marine Debris Initiative, volunteers not only removed 2.46 tonnes of marine debris, but also documented each of the 24,773 pieces of rubbish for inclusion in the Australian Marine Debris Database. The most common items included 2428 thongs, 2221 plastic drink bottles, 9536 bits of broken down bits of plastic, 1907 plastic lids, 618m of rope and 518 bleach bottles. A significant amount of the debris had international origins, and over 80% of items made of plastic.

Peter Dellow – Ranger in Charge Heathlands National Park said “Heidi and her crew from Tangaroa Blue have made a real difference at Captain Billy’s Landing on the far north of Cape York. Not even howling winds and squally showers could deter this group from doing what they do best – helping to protect our marine environment.

Over 7 days more than 2.5 tonnes of rubbish was removed and systematically recorded from 7 km of remote coastline which hosts thousands of nesting green turtles each year. The threat that marine debris poses to our marine environment is of global importance and Tangaroa Blue are leading the way in raising awareness and providing real opportunities to help combat this important conservation issue.”

Volunteers also worked on Source Reduction Plans which are strategies that would stop this pollution from entering the environment in the first place. Ideas including a national campaign on packaging reduction, support for a national container deposit scheme, and more involvement from federal agencies in addressing debris coming from cargo ships and other countries.

Funding for the event was provided by the Queensland Government’s Friends of Parks Grant, and the next clean-up will be held at Chilli Beach in the Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park on July 18-22.

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