2012 Darwin Harbour Clean Up

201207 DHCUThe third annual Darwin Harbour Clean-Up was held on July 12 with around 120 volunteers and workers collecting an estimated four tonnes of rubbish from Darwin Harbour's coastlines and waters, organised by the Northern Territory Seafood Council and OceanWatch Australia.

The rubbish collected included around 1600 plastic drink bottles, 730 plastic bags, a staggering 12,000 aluminium cans, 13 shopping trolleys, a navigational buoy light, a military belt complete with water bottle and an empty ashes urn. The thong count was down, with only nine collected compared to 63 last year. The number of plastic bottles collected remained almost the same while the number of aluminium cans was nearly double last year's tally.

The number of plastic bags collected was well down on previous years, suggesting the single use plastic bag ban is having an impact.

The huge weight of rubbish and the number of aluminium cans collected was well up on previous years, though this could partly be explained by an increase in effort and new sites being tackled by participants this year.

Twelve boats were out scouring the mangroves and water while 10 land-based crews cleaned up hotspots around Darwin and over on Cox Peninsula.

Volunteers and workers came from government, non-government and private agencies and included twenty soldiers from 2nd Cavalry Regiment at Robertson Barracks lending a hand to members of Wagait Beach and Belyuen Communities on Cox Peninsula.

The main hotspots targeted by land crews were around the Mandorah Beach Hotel and towards Woods Inlet, Rapid Creek from Trower Road to the mouth, and Coconut Grove to Ludmilla Creek. Boats out on the water reported lower levels of rubbish than previous years, meaning much of the 4 tonnes collected is coming from land-based activities.

The event was created by commercial fishermen who collect ocean rubbish as part of their daily activities. Living and working on the sea meant they were regularly confronted with the negative impacts of rubbish on the health of the marine environment on which they depend. Rubbish in the water can also prove hazardous to boaters.

Keeping the environment in top condition is vital for the seafood industry and this year's Darwin Harbour Clean-Up shows that there is still work to do in educating the community to put their rubbish in a bin instead of our oceans.

For further information: Contact NT SeaNet Officer, Lyn Lambeth (08) 8981 5194

The 2012 Darwin Harbour Clean-Up is organised by the Northern Territory Seafood Council and OceanWatch Australia's SeaNet Program through funding from the Australian Government's Caring for our Country initiative and Territory Resource Management's Coastcare Program.