On Clean Up Australia Day, a stunning coral cay in the Great Barrier Reef called Green Island got a visit from a collection of students from the Cairns district. Schools represented on the day were Freshwater State School, Redlynch State College, Trinity Beach State School, and Whitfield State School.
The students were participating in the Science and Environmental Sustainability Enrichment Program being run by the Holloways Beach Environmental Education Centre, and as part of the program the students were taking part in a beach clean-up and data collection activity with Tangaroa Blue.
After a discovery walk through the middle of the island and seeing some of the islands wildlife, the kids hit the beach and started scouring the area for anything that was not meant to be there. Though not much was found during the early stages of the cleanup, the students noticed a big increase when we got to the main swimming and snorkeling area.
In this area the students found many empty food wrappers, tissues, straws, and cigarette butts. But nothing got their attention quite so much as the moment one of the student found an old pair of underpants half buried in the sand!
Once we made it back to base camp, everyone’s bags were combined and weighed, with the cumulative total weight being 9.8kgs! Everyone was surprised that they managed to find so much rubbish on a beach that looked relatively clean, but were happy that they had made a positive impact by removing it from the environment.
After the beach clean-up and data collection activity was done, the students shared some of the things they had learnt from the day. Here are some pearls of their wisdom:
“We learnt about how much debris there is on the beach, even though it looks clean.”
“We learnt that plastic is the most common type of marine debris found on our beaches.”
“We learnt that marine debris doesn’t always come from people dropping it on the beach, it also washes up from other places.”
“We learnt about how we need to protect our wildlife from marine debris.”
“We learnt that there’s far too much marine debris in our ocean.”
“We learnt that there’s actually LOTS of people who are trying to help.”
Thanks for helping making our ocean a cleaner and safer place for marine life!