Year 9 students from St Bernard’s College in Melbourne visit their Santa Monica campus for a 4 week camp each year and since 2009 one of their activities has been a beach clean up along Victorian’s Surf Coast. These clean ups have contributed a huge amount of information to the Australian Marine Debris Database as well as removing thousands of pieces of marine debris from the fragile marine environment.
Mark Smith, coordinator of the project sent in the following report with their June data collection sheets.
“We approached our collection differently this month, concentrating on two river mouths – Grassy Creek and Painkalac Creek (Aireys Inlet). We had big tide surges – with high tides and big swell – in the week leading up to the collection day, causing quite a bit of damage to the dunes, so we concentrated on the litter traps in the river mouths.
As you can see from the data sheet, we collected heaps of pieces of plastic, most smaller than a five cent piece. In about a five metre stretch in the Painkalac estuary we found at least 400 pieces!”
The data sheet highlighted the main contributors to the marine debris issue in the area including 860 pieces of hard plastic, 123 pieces of broken glass, 130 pieces of polystyrene foam, 114 plastic bags, 102 glass bottles and 86 cans! The total for the clean up was 1794 individual pieces filling 4 clean up bags collected by 31 students in just one hour! Way to go guys!