South Cape Bay is located on the edge of the Southwest National Park, a Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Due to its isolated location, clean-ups are rarely organised along the beach, as the walk is long and requires appropriate gear. Pearl Mitchell, a passionate Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI) devotee, is attending university in Tasmania. Alongside the UTAS Bushwalking Society and UTAS Zero Waste Society she organised an overnight camping trip and volunteer clean-up on the 5th – 6th of September.
The team wanted to create an experience that had as little impact as possible on the environment, so clean-up bags were donated by a local coffee company Villino, and a small 10-seater bus was hired to minimise the carbon footprint of getting out to site. The crew of 9 started along South Cape Beach and hiked along its subsequent beaches until they reached the camping spot on South Cape Rivulet. 27.6kg of rubbish was collected, with the majority of the debris consisting of micro-plastics and masses of fishing rope.
Pearl described the trip as a tough experience as the hike was a lengthy 24km all up through muddy undergrowth and beaches, but says it was all worth it. As Pearl put it,
“Seeing rubbish in a place that is rarely exposed to human interference makes the impact of marine debris much more palpable.”
Pearl had been involved in a number of clean-ups in the past alongside one of Tangaroa Blue’s ambassadors, Bernadette Davis, and had experience with using the AMDI database. All 1,130 items collected off the Tasmanian beaches were sorted and the data was uploaded on the Tangaroa Blue with help of the other volunteers.
We’re so thankful to have AMDI legends like Pearl, who are not only willing to take clean-ups into new areas, but also emphasise the importance of data collection as a tool for lobbying and advancing solutions to reduce marine litter in our oceans.