The Brisbane Waters Foreshore Program has been cleaning up around the waterways of the region for over a year now, and Pelican Island was identified as a marine debris hotspot and has been used to stockpile debris collected during clean up events. On February 8th a massive clean up effort was coordinated by the program’s organiser Graham Johnston to remove the stockpile and clean up the rest of the island with the help and support of local stakeholders.
The morning started with local State Member of Parliament, Chis Holstein addressing and thanking the group of 70 participants on behalf of the community. Then students and teachers boarded barges and boats for the short trip to Pelican Island. High tide enabled the barges to get closer to shore, however the students were in ankle deep water, whilst retrieving most of the litter. The students, many with disabilities, responded positively to the task, working tirelessly during the two hour collection period.
The stacked items were quickly loaded, however the small litter, including hundreds of beer bottles, was tedious work, with removal to the barges, hard work for the students. All barges were heavily loaded, and experienced difficulty in leaving the island on the falling tide. Gosford Council tip trucks made four trips to the Waste Disposal Centre, with maximum loads and 2.8 tonnes in total, was deposited into the tip, mostly disused oyster product, some product recycled. A total of 50 bags of small litter was collected, including approximately 500 beer bottles. Also removed were 17 car tyres. Approximately 400 metres x 40 metres of foreshore was cleaned before all groups returned to the Jetty at 12 noon for a much appreciated BBQ by all stakeholders, students and teachers.
School participants included Brisbane waters Secondary College, Woy Woy Support Unit 22 students plus 5 staff, Umina Support Unit 3 students plus 1 staff, “The Croft” 2 students plus 1 staff, Woy Woy “senior students” x 3 and Umina “Enviro” Unit 15 students plus I staff.
On ground support was also provided by the Hunter Catchment Authority, Oceanwatch Australia, Gosford Council, Local Oyster Growers, Brisbane Waters Parks & Wildlife, State Member of Parliament, Tuggerah Lakes Scouts and the Community Environment Network.