Coastal Clean-ups Save Marine Life

Saving coastal marine life around Cape to Cape beaches is a weekly pastime of Heidi Taylor and her husband Richard Taylor from Tangaroa Blue.

Indirectly, they save the lives of seals, whales, dolphins and seabirds by driving weekly beach clean-ups that remove thousands of pieces of debris along our expansive coastline. Mrs Taylor won the Environmental Minister's Award for Coastal Custodians and is driving a campaign to make people aware that beach debris has the capacity to kill.

20060516-Coastal-Clean-UpsShe quotes that every year, 1 million seabirds and 300,000 marine mammals die as a result of consuming or getting tangled in debris.

"In every square kilometre of ocean, there are more than 18,000 pieces of plastic. These are a danger to 20 Australian threatened species including the Southern Right and Blue Whales, the Loggerhead Turtle and the Tristan Albatross," she said.

Last year the pair organised the Cape to Cape Beach Clean-Up in October and rallied together 100 volunteers from the community. Combined with industry support, they cleared and recorded more than a tonne of debris, most of which was light plastics such as bottles, buoys and rope, strapping, food wrapping and lids. Currently, they are proposing that the commercial fishing industry adopt self-locking bait boxes to avoid plastic strapping going into the ocean. In addition to weekly clean-ups, another Cape to Cape Beach Clean-Up is being organised for mid October 2006.

"The contribution of volunteers helps us to gather detailed data which is what we need as evidence for industry and Government agencies to help make changes for the future. We all need to take a proactive approach to protect our oceans," Mrs Taylor said.


Extract from "Coastal Clean-ups Save Marine Life " article written by Nicola Holman. The article was featured in Issue No 3 of the South West Catchments Council Newsletter.