The Marine Discovery Centre in Queenscliffe, Victoria is a great location for students to learn more about their unique marine environments. One of the activities that students have recently started participating in is a marine debris clean up and data collection which contributes vital information on the state of the local coastline to the Australian Marine Debris Initiative. The database is used by local, state and federal stakeholders to identify those items impacting each clean up site and then to find practical solutions to those issues.
During the last week of July, 2011 two schools participated in beach clean ups at Bancoora Beach, Breamlea close to where the centre is located. 18 students from Matthew Flinders Girls Secondary College joined Marine Discovery Centre staff to remove 287 items from the beach in just half an hour. The most common items were 80 pieces of polystyrene foam, 65 bits of broken glass, 60 hard plastic remnant pieces and 20 confectionery sticks. Photos in this article are from the students during this clean up event.
Reports from the activity was of a fantastic day with great weather spent participating in a variety of activities including the Tangaroa litter survey. Very educational activity for all.
23 Western Heights Secondary College students also joined the project during the week, removing 101 items from Bancoora Beach within their half hour time limit. The data from this clean up showed different items with 21 lids and 11 cut off rope scraps topping the list of most common items.
During the marine debris collections we also collected plastic pellets that we will send to 'International Pellet Watch" for analysis. Mayumi -a scientist, sends them to a colleague of hers in Japan who is conducting this program. After analysis the results will be added to the Global pollution map http://www.pelletwatch.org/
Further clean ups are planned over the coming months, and Tangaroa Blue is grateful for the information now coming from this area of the Victorian coastline!