2021 ReefClean Report: 31.2 tonnes of debris removed

The 2021 ReefClean Report showcases another successful year of the program.

Ninety organisations, volunteer groups, schools and Traditional Owner groups participated in the 2021 ReefClean project. At 335 clean-up events, over 31.2 tonnes of debris was removed by 2,633 volunteers over 1,775 hectares. Volunteer effort was particularly high in the southern Fitzroy region, with 310 volunteer occasions for a total of 1,308 hours in 2021. Using the data collected from these clean-ups and entered into the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI) Database, 21 source reduction plans (SRPs) were rolled out and 186 educational and awareness raising activities were held. ReefClean workshops and presentations had over 20,000 participants in 2021. Despite COVID-19 related challenges over the last two years, the program has grown significantly since it began in 2019.

Plastic bits and pieces (hard and solid) and lids and tops, pump spray, flow restrictor and similar remain as the top two item categories, with no change from previous years. These two item categories were also often found in the top three for each NRM region zone, with foam insulation and packaging (whole and remnants) and plastic film remnants also found in high numbers. The three zones in the Cape York region had the highest density of debris, ranging from 0.203 to 0.226 pieces per m2 . The central Fitzroy region, on the other hand, had the lowest debris density for the last two years at 0.003 pieces per min 2021 and 0.002 in 2020. All data was entered into the AMDI Database and will inform management strategy recommendations and plans in the future.

We would like to acknowledge all ReefClean partners and volunteers for another successful year. We look forward to continuing to build on the marine debris removal and prevention work in the coming third year of the ReefClean project.

ReefClean is funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and delivered by Tangaroa Blue Foundation in partnership with Conservation Volunteers Australia, AUSMAP, Capricornia Catchments, Eco Barge Clean Seas, OceanWatch Australia, Reef Check Australia, and South Cape York Catchments.

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