Tangaroa Blue Foundation provided information to both the Northern Australian Quarantine Strategy and the Australian Border Force (ABF) after hundreds of Vietnamese water bottles were documented during the 2016 Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI) events in Cape York.
As part of Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI), volunteers not only record how many of each item has been found during beach/river clean-ups, but also any brand and barcode information that might be on the item to help track it back to the source.
Heidi Taylor, Managing Director of Tangaroa Blue Foundation said, 'We have been working with local communities, volunteers, Indigenous Rangers and AMDI partners on large scale, remote beach clean-up events in Cape York since 2011, so we have pretty comprehensive database on what regularly washes up along this section of coast. We were able to quickly identify several Vietnamese water bottle brands that we had never seen before, that were washing up in large numbers, and were very new, with expiry dates of 2017 on the labels. This indicated to us a source that was close by, and that these bottles had definitely not floated from Vietnam'.
The Townsville Oonoonba Wetlands Clean-up inspired 41 volunteers and staff to partake in the four day, 42Ha clean-up event! From March 5th to 8th four trailers loaded with tyres were removed and dumped along with white goods, furniture and even street signs. The team came across a copious amount of broken glass that was dreadful to pick up and count along with numerous glass bottles filled with smelly mangrove mud. It was definitely no beach clean-up, the tides and rainfall created a muddy mess for our crew and volunteers which ultimately made it a great time in the end. Their hard work amounted to the removal of almost 2 tonnes of rubbish, including 570kg worth of tyres!
The final day, Bono’s Bobcat was on-site trucking out over 23 tonnes of concrete that was illegally dumped. In the past this area was pounded by constant illegal dumping, and local littering from activities that included fishing on the banks and vehicle activity on the mudflats.
On January 19th nine beachcombers took to the shorelines of Alva Beach, south of Townsville in QLD, where discoveries of local litter scattered across 4km led to their collection of 340kg!
This included fishing line-entwined bird's nests, international plastic drink bottles along with a tractor tyre and some peculiar metal objects that resembled a train track and a satellite dish!
Thanks to all the volunteers, plus the Burdekin Shire Council and Gudjuda Reference Group for their support on-site, and to NQ Dry Tropics and the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme for funding this project through the Community Landcare Grant.
Shelly Cove resides within the Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park featuring the historic Quarantine Station that was established in 1915 during the Second World War.
The area’s landscaped with open woodlands and rocky shorelines making it home to a variety of animal and plant life. The waters of Cape Pallarenda are rich in seagrass attracting green sea turtle populations to these foraging grounds.
Due to the density of life and volume of human activity in the vicinity, the area’s frequently cared for by Queensland Parks and Wildlife, Conservation Volunteers Australia and their Green Army team.
With Tangaroa Blue Foundation on-site we’re able to record the amount of rubbish being removed from Shelly Cove shorelines and compare it to previous years through the collection of data. This year on the 19th of January 35 participants combed 3.8 kilometres of beach with their efforts resulting in 101.5kg of predominately local litter items. Clean-ups at Shelly Cove in previous years removed 82.53kg in 2016, another 35.5kg in 2015 and a close second in 2014 with a total of 90kg cleaned up.
On December 7th 2016, volunteers and partners got an early start to beat the heat for our Crystal Beach clean-up event in Northern QLD! After signing registration forms, a safety briefing was conducted and PPE was handed out. In only 15 minutes time, bags started returning and didn’t stop until we pulled up for a BBQ lunch at midday after working a solid five hours.
As a result a large area of beach was combed clean including the foreshores of illegally built huts where a lot of litter is sourced, other than the visiting careless campers. Sparse shoreline vegetation and camping areas were also cleaned.
The event was an absolute success with a bundle of positive feedback received from all the volunteers and partners who especially appreciated the finale barbeque! Three volunteers joining us from Saunders Beach have taken a great interest in Tangaroa Blue’s ultimate goal of marine debris prevention and will soon be applying for community grants to run their very own community clean-ups throughout the year. They’re hoping to take it further in the removal of numerous white goods that have been illegally dumped along the creek.
Thanks to event sponsors and partners NQ Dry Tropics, QLD Government Natural Resources and Mines, Girringun Aboriginal Corporation and Handi Skips.