Winter Time Debris for St Bernard’s College Students

During May and June, we have had some pretty wild weather down here on Victoria’s west coast – much of it with big swells, onshore winds and very high tides – all of which have spelt disaster for the beaches and the dunes. We have seen widespread erosion, especially around the river mouths and huge impact on the dunes, which have receded by as much as ten metres in places. Protective fences have been washed away and carparks undermined. Naturally, this has also led to lots of debris being washed up on the beaches.

The June clean up was particularly interesting as we chose just to concentrate on the river mouths along our stretch of coast – Grassy, Spout, Coalmine, Moggs and Painkalac Creeks. We also decided to concentrate on the small pieces of plastic, most no larger than a five cent piece, that seem to accumulate in the river mouths.

In these five locations we picked up more than 500 pieces – and could have doubled that number if we had more time. It was a great learning experience for the boys who looked at the river mouths from a distance and thought they looked pretty clean and healthy. Once they got closer though they saw that they could bend down in one spot and collect 100 pieces of plastic within a one metre area.

Thanks for the great work Tangaroa Blue are doing to help protect the coast. St Bernard’s is happy to be contributing in whatever way we can.

Thanks to Mark Smith and the students from St Bernard’s College Santa Monica Campus who have been involved in the Australian Marine Debris Initiative since 2009 – contributing to the improvement and health of their local coastline!

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