Clean ups have been taking place in Tasmania for a number of year now. With some very remote sections of coastline, it is amazing how much rubbish is washing up from both local and international sources.
Litter was collected from the Overland Track and East Coast beaches, and fauna were surveyed by participants in guided tours as part of the Green Guardians voluntourism program during the past summer.
The litter collection survey took place on the popular Overland Track in Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park and on the Hazards Beach track at Freycinet National Park, Tasmania; the study and collection of marine debris occurred in the Bay of Fires Conservation Area; and the fauna survey was carried out along the Franklin River in the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.
Coastcare Week got off to a creative, colourful and happily trashy start in the Cradle Coast region of Tasmania with a display of marine sculptures made using plastic bags, bottles, cans, fishing line and other rubbish collected from local beaches. Students from six schools transformed the debris into 40 imaginative sea creatures in Cradle Coast NRM's Schools Marine Debris Sculpture Competition to raise awareness of the need to Keep the Sea Free of Debris.
Competition winners were announced today at a special presentation to mark the beginning of Coastcare Week 2011 which is celebrated around Australia from 5 to 11 December to recognise the work of community volunteers in caring for their coast. The sculptures provided a colourful backdrop to the regional launch which was also attended by guest speaker, Peter Whish-Wilson, Tasmanian Chair of the Surfrider Foundation. Mr Whish-Wilson teaches environmental finance at UTAS and is planning a PhD on the economics of marine plastic pollution.
Conservation Volunteers has partnered with individuals, businesses and governments in the conservation of our unique environment since 1982. In that time we have welcomed hundreds of thousands of volunteers from around Australia and across the world and supported their participation in a diversity of important projects to protect and enhance our environment.
Depending on your point of view this years' trip to the remote beaches of south west Tasmania's Wilderness World Heritage Area was either the most successful to date with a record haul of 17,714 pieces of rubbish or very disappointing as we continue to see increasing amounts of rubbish finding its way into one of the worlds most pristine wilderness areas. Either way we managed to clean a total of eight beaches thanks to the Cray fishermen, fine weather and a very happy, enthusiastic and capable crew. Thanks to Wildcare and Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania we were able to visit this area and present our findings on a daily basis to the world via the blog.
We had a perfect sunny day at Goats Beach (Calvert's Lagoon beach), South Arm in March, with plenty of swell for an early morning surf before we gathered together in the western carpark and cleaned up numerous "Bogan Middens" before walking 3/4 of the length of the beach, cleaning debris and taking note of the many mutton bird (short tailed shearwater) carcasses that remain from the large scale mutton bird wreck that occurred earlier this summer (apparently occurring across many beaches in SE Australia).
Three people in our group made an estimated count of the numbers of birds and decided that there were between 60 and 80 exposed birds on the stretch of beach we cleaned (and probably alot more given it had been a couple of months since the 'wreck' had started).