Turtle hatchlings on the Sunshine Coast have a better chance of survival thanks to more than 500 volunteers who pitched in to clean up the beaches over the weekend.
The clean-up activities are supported by a three-year Community Partnership Grant with SEALIFE Sunshine Coast, Reef Check Australia and the Sunshine Coast Council.
Following the success of last year’s Clean Up for the Turtle Hatchlings event, which saw more than 500kg of debris removed, event organisers were overwhelmed with the support they received this year, with 509 registered participants removing 619kg of rubbish from local beaches and waterways.
Volunteers on Bribie Island removed the highest amount of rubbish on the day, collecting a whopping 82.3kg. This feat was matched by a group of 70 people in Mooloolaba who collected 82kg from one of the region’s most popular beaches.
Wildlife conservation officer Talisa Kath said it was encouraging to see so many local residents of all ages dedicate their time to improve the health of beaches and waterways.
“We really appreciate the huge effort people have gone to in collecting everything from cigarette butts, plastic bottles, wrappers and cans off our beaches for the benefit of the turtles,” Ms Kath said.
“These events not only improve outcomes for the wildlife that inhabit our waterways and beaches, it also gives us great insight into what rubbish is being found in which areas.
“We will continue to use that data to help us better address the wider issue of litter and waste management across the Sunshine Coast.”
While huge numbers of local residents joined Turtlecare volunteers and wildlife officers removing rubbish and debris along the shoreline, Reef Check Australia volunteers removed 61kg of debris from the Mooloolah River mouth- primarily fishing debris, bottles and cans.
Reef Check Australia spokeswoman Jodi Salmond said everyone could make a difference when it comes to marine debris by making small changes to daily behaviours.
“This event is an amazing example of what we can do when we all work together,” Ms Salmond said.
“It was a tremendous effort, and one Reef Check Australia is extremely proud to be a part of, but it’s an ongoing effort- our impact extends beyond this one day- it’s about our daily actions, and the difference we can all make.”