Saturday morning 26th November, saw a whole lot of fun happening at Broken Head and Seven Mile Beach. The Oceanika Merpod with Tangaroa Blue Foundation and Revolve Your World partnered to organize and host a beach clean up. The morning was spent inspiring and educating the 35 or so children and adults who were happily cleaning up the beach.
I thought I was "aware" when it came to Ocean conservation and environmental issues. Seven Mile beach looks pristine to most people, myself included, but to my shock the amount of toxic debris on the beach was a massive wake up call. We have so much work to do! there is literally tonnes of broken up bits of plastic on the tide lines and up into the bush just behind the dunes.
The coming summer months will bring the 'tourist' out in all of us as we head to the local waterways to enjoy the great outdoors and get some relief from the heat. One thing to be aware of, is to collect litter in our natural environment during the tourist season, as plastics are a major threat to our ocean life and every piece less that goes into the ocean is a bonus.
Everyone can do their bit by just picking up every piece of litter that can be seen and on December 3rd branches of the community marine conservation group, Ocean & Coastal Care Initiatives (OCCI) organised a "Marine Debris Survey" at sites in central NSW including Terrigal, Copacabana, Lake Macquarie and Port Stevens.
"As well as collecting rubbish from our lakes and beaches, this clean-up is designed to go that one step further," said event co-ordinator, Linda Roberts. "All of the collected litter was recorded and sent to a national data-base for marine debris, organised by Tangaroa Blue Foundation. The idea is to find out the origin of our local marine litter so that steps can be taken to reduce debris at its source."
So what did make up the marine debris collected along NSW's central coast?
'Help us Keep Sydney Harbour Beautiful' is an ongoing collaborative campaign designed to encourage residents and visitors alike to understand and respect the unique environmental sensitivity of Sydney Harbour.
Sydney Ferries is joined by Tangaroa Blue Foundation, Manly Council, City of Canada Bay Council and non-for-profit marine conservation organisations (including Eco Divers) in building initiatives aimed at fostering better environmental behaviours in Sydney Harbour.
Freshwater Surf Lifesaving Club, on Sydney's Northern Beaches, held their first beach clean up event on Sunday 26th September. Reports from organiser Naomi Donohue, indicated that the clean up went really well with approximately 16kgs collected in 3.5hours.
Data collected included 400+ bits of foam, 1100 cigarette butts and 170+ drink lids, with a fabulous 25 + volunteers. A positive message was highlighted in the community with the event catching the attention of passers by, who stopped to ask questions and lend a quick hand, including two young Nippers that then didn't want to leave!
With such great support we now plan to run a beach clean at the start and end of every patrolling season (late September and April).We survived the beach clean - absolutely exhausted - thanks again to all the volunteers, Surfrider Foundation and Eco Divers, as well as logistical support from Tangaroa Blue, and happily I can say there are club members already planning the next one.
Surfers will be the driving force behind an initiative to keep beaches looking pristine. The Clean Beach initiative, to be trialled on the Central Coast, is supported by Tangaroa Blue and The Surfrider Foundation.
Behind the pilot program is surfer Mandy Marechal and marine biologist Roberta Dixon-Valk. They hope to get other surfers active in removing marine debris from their ocean playground.
Photo by Peter Clark: Mandy Marechal, Nathan Cook and Tasman Marechal collect rubbish at Forresters Beach.
Other supports include big wave surfer Dylan Longbottom and Marechal's husband and fellow surfer Rex. Marechal said they hoped to get a younger generation involved.