OzFish volunteers got sandy for their annual Clean Up Australia Day event with an army of 21 community volunteers working together to clean up almost 3 trailer loads of rubbish off of the remote Ocean Beach, Coorong in South Australia.
Their efforts removed a range of litter from the local waterways including plastic, ropes, nets and bait-pots.
It’s estimated about two million tonnes of plastics enter the oceans from rivers and creeks each year. Sadly, the majority is a result of human behaviour and Covid-19 has without a doubt seen an increase in single use items.
State coordinator of OzFish South Australia, Dr Michael Sierp was not surprised by what they found.
“When litter is dropped on land, the wind and rain often carry it to stormwater drains which empty into creeks and rivers which then carry it to the ocean. Once litter reaches our waterways, it is very difficult to remove. Even worse is when its discarded at sea and floats into remote areas like this” said Dr Sierp.
“Our beautiful oceans shouldn’t be dumps for plastic debris.”
“Everyone should be very proud of what they have achieved today, and their hard work should be applauded. They have done themselves and their community proud,” said Dr Sierp.
OzFish Coorong Chapter committee volunteers, Levi Nash (President), Tyson Hausler, Clint Brown and Bill Geromichalos and their families participated in the clean-up at Ocean Beach this year and saw first-hand the difference that can be made when the community simply picks up the rubbish.
“We camp and fish here. It’s great to get all this plastic, nets and ropes off the beach to make it visually better and good for the fish too,” said Levi.
Thanks to the new partnership with Tangaroa Blue Foundation, all of the litter OzFish collected is being sorted, counted and will be entered into the Tangaroa Blue Australian Marine Debris Database which is used by researchers to determine the best way to combat marine litter.
OzFish will also use the information collected to investigate new solutions recreational fishers can use to reduce litter entering local waterways and ending up on the beach.