Rubbish result sparks need for beach clean-up plan
  • Wednesday 07 September 2016

Around 4000 cigarette butts, 1400 aluminium cans, 1350 glass beer bottles and 580 plastic bags – these are just a handful of examples from the shocking 30,000 total items of debris removed from our precious beaches and foreshores over a six-month period.

Data recording the debris collected from the clean-up project coordinated by Sunshine Coast Council, the State Government’s Work for the Dole and Maroochy Waterwatch has been entered into a standardised national database to better understand the problem.

Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said the results of the clean-up project were both fantastic and frightening at the same time.

“While the project participants did an absolutely fantastic job in removing such a significant amount of debris from our coastlines and waterways, the total result is actually highly concerning,” Cr McKay said.

“As well as ruining the visual appeal of our beloved beaches, the debris can be harmful to the large and diverse range of wildlife who rely on our waterways.

“Harmful marine debris is any form of litter which is transported by wind or water into our estuaries and off-shore waters from our streets, parks, playgrounds or waterways.

“Sadly, hundreds of birds, whales, seals and turtles die slowly every year from starvation or suffocation caused by debris such as plastics which have been dumped or littered.”

Cr McKay said council was now working to use the results of the clean-up project to identify and target key problem areas while also raising awareness with all residents about the issue.

“We can’t simply continue to pick up the rubbish – this will not solve anything; we need to look at the cause which is often human behaviour,” she said.

“We are excited to bring on board EnviroCom Australia, as the successful tenderer, to work closely with council and the community to tackle this problem head on.

“Through examining the coordinated data from the clean-up project they will be able to start to determine the root of the problem and develop a reduction plan outlining how to go about fixing or reducing its impact.”

Stay tuned for further details on the reduction plan, or visit council’s website for how you can help reduce the litter problem now.

Fast Facts 

Top 10 items collected during six-month clean-up project:

Cigarette butts and filters = 3949

Plastic bits = 3632

Plastic packaging (wrap, packets, containers) = 3294

Paper and cardboard packaging = 2413

Broken glass or ceramic = 1455

Aluminium cans = 1372

Glass beer stubbies and premixed alcohol bottles = 1346

Plastic bottles = 1231

Metal bottle caps, lids, top and pull tabs = 1214

Cloth, clothing, hats and towels = 605

Total = 28607

Top 10 beaches with highest amount of debris collected:

Dicky Beach = 3395

Alexandra Headland = 2997

Coolum = 2507

Mudjimba = 2250

Maroochydore = 2139

Mooloolaba = 2117

Kawana = 1488

Point Cartwright = 1274

North Shore = 1206

Warana = 1072