- 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.
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