Cigarette butts are a major issue nationally and internationally. They are made of plastic and they are buoyant, therefore they can be mistaken as food by wildlife. The plastic within cigarette butts is toxic itself but it is exacerbated by the chemicals from smoking. To reduce the amount of cigarette butts being released to the environment cigarette butt bins have been installed across the country. This targets the release of cigarette butts at the source and increases awareness of the issue. In Victoria students from St Bernard’s College Santa Monica Campus found high numbers of cigarette butts during their monthly beach clean-ups, and so with the help of Tangaroa Blue and the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, the students from St Bernard’s installed cigarette butt bins at scenic lookouts along the Great Ocean Road to reduce the number of cigarette butts ending up on local beaches.
This source reduction plan was designed by participants in Port Hedland during a workshop funded through Keep Australian Beautiful Council WA Litter Prevention Grants. The goal of the source reduction plan is to address aluminium cans. They have been identified as an issue in the area, for example 217 were found during one clean-up at Cemetery Beach in 2013. The cans are thought to be coming from beachgoers, campers, fishers, boaters, water users and park users. They are left behind following visits and often found lodged between rocks. This is an issue of great importance to the community because it impacts on the amenities, wildlife, health and safety and resources; such as the cost of litter collection by the council and community pride.
This source reduction plan was designed by participants in Rockingham during a workshop funded through Keep Australia Beautiful Council WA Litter Prevention Grants. There is an issue at Kennedy Bay Boat Ramp with litter being being blown out of the council plastic bins with the sea breeze. It is important to address this issue as it will reduce the amount of rubbish on the surrounding beach and in the dunes, it will also result in less pollution in the ocean. The suggested source reduction plan involves talking to the council about sourcing heavier bins with lids that are unable to blow open. The success of this source reduction plan will be measured during the 2015 WA Beach Clean-up event.
The Thamarrurr Rangers are based in Wadeye, a remote community west of Darwin in the Northern Territory. Since 2014 they have set up 11 marine debris monitoring sites and reported their collections to the Australian Marine Debris Initiative Database as part of their on-ground work.
In May, Heidi from Tangaroa Blue visited Wadeye to help report the data collected by the Thamarrurr Rangers to the broader community, and to help use this data to create some local Source Reduction Plans that would prevent some of this marine debris from occuring in the first place.
A community meeting was held with Elders, Rangers, representatives from the Women’s Centre, Council and the School attending and several projects created including the use of old fuel drums as garbage bins at outstation camping sites and the barge landing, continuation of marine debris monitoring sites and a community art competition using litter/marine debris as the material and inspiration for the art pieces. The art competition is planned to be run during the annual Wadeye Festival and we can’t wait to see the pieces created!