Report by Patricia Swallow, Tangaroa Blue volunteer.
Known as the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean, Christmas Island is a lush, tropical paradise, famous for its red crabs, Golden Bosun and Red Footed Booby birds, as well as its amazing marine life.
Turtles nest on some of the Island’s beaches and once a year tiny hatchlings emerge from the sand to make their way to the safety of the nearby ocean. Sadly, their path is often blocked by what is to them, an insurmountable mound of marine debris.
It was a story that Heidi Taylor and Matt of Tangaroa Blue Foundation felt compelled to investigate and, with assistance from Sam from Keep Australia Beautiful WA and a couple of keen volunteers, a trip to Christmas Island was planned.
Local volunteers eagerly joined Tangaroa Blue and Keep Australia Beautiful one Sunday in late March for a beach clean-up at Isabel Beach on the first day of the trip. Everyone got stuck in and a huge amount of marine debris was collected, amounting to over 220 kg of rubbish from just 55 m of beach! The usual hoard of plastic bottles (836), thongs (488) and polystyrene foam (2920) was among the marine data recorded and bagged-up ready for the local council to dispose of.
This year just under 1,800 volunteers came together across 138 beach locations to remove more than 88,880 items of rubbish from our coastline as part of the 2016 West Australian Beach Clean-up. Some of the more interesting finds made around the state include half a canoe found near the Margaret River mouth, a couch found in the dunes at Leighton Beach, a brand-new selfie stick picked up on remote Deepdene Beach, black plastic resin pellets found along the North Fremantle foreshore of the Swan River, and over 500 straws found during a clean-up on the Jindalee foreshore. Big sections of rope have been found washed up along the more remote sections of coastline in the south west, and many rope fragments and microplastics have been found littering the beaches.
The West Australian Beach Clean-up received funding from the West Australian Government’s State NRM Program, supported by Royalties for Regions. Tangaroa Blue Foundation would also like to thank Keep Australia Beautiful WA, WA Department of Fisheries, Department of Parks and Wildlife and local government authorities around the state, as well as all the amazing volunteers for their ongoing support for this annual event.
To download the full report click here.
Report by Patricia Swallow Tangaroa Blue volunteer
Cat McCartney, a passionate Tangaroa Blue supporter for many years, was the instigator of this important clean-up campaign. Having visited West Island on lots of occasions, she was well aware that this tropical paradise had a big problem with marine debris washed onto its shores and wanted to do something about it. Check out our photo album of the week on Facebook.
Report from Rhedyn Dekker and son Hunter.
We choose Point Anne, St Mary's inlet east of Bremer Bay as our campsite to celebrate the Australia Day long weekend our coast lines are the most beautiful serene places in the world. Its heart breaking to find people don't respect it and look after it I personally like to leave a place better then I found it leaving only footprints:)
After soaking up the Australia day beautiful weather we spent the next two days picking up other peoples rubbish on the first day we travelled east from Point Anne to Point Charles we got to the End of the beach to where we could no longer 4WD and unfortunately filled our ute with Ropes, nets, bottles, hard hats, plastic, foam, cans, buckets, car parts, glass, shoes, pallets with 3inch nails sticking out, plastic pallet wrap, bags, oil bottles, the list could go on :( Id say half from boats dumping and half from lazy beach goers with out a care for our beautiful coastline and wildlife we even found dead animals as a result from human rubbish :(
Day two we headed back towards the beautiful Bremer Bay from Point Anne along Triglow beach, again we got to the furtherest point we could 4wd coming up to the salmon camp where we off loaded some of the ropes so we had room to pick up more, turned around and drove back to our camp on the way back we could have easily filled the ute 5 x times over coming across dump sights in the dunes where it looked as tho people had just taken a tip truck and emptied a years worth of rubbish its heart breaking too see, trying to teach my 3 year old to recycle and not litter and to appreciate his environment, he loved beach combing, in amongst the rubbish he managed to get himself a yellow sand scoop, a ball and several hard hats for his friends to play with he woke up today asking if we could go find more rubbish and toys to play with! Parenting win :D