On Sunday, March 3, local Sunshine Coast residents came out in record numbers to do their part for Clean Up Australia Day.
The Sunshine Coast boasted a 10% increase from last year’s volunteer numbers, tallying an all-time high of 1630 registered volunteers.
Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay shared her belief that through this event, the community truly lives up to Sunshine Coast Council’s vision to be Australia’s most sustainable region – healthy, smart, creative.
“It is remarkable to see what can be done when our community comes together,” Cr McKay said.
“This record number of volunteers collected 15.9 tonnes of general rubbish and nearly 1 tonne of recyclables.
“While we wish we didn’t need to have such a day, Clean Up Australia Day is a sobering reminder and call to action for our community to be conscious when throwing away rubbish or recycleable items.
“We all need to remember to clean up the Sunshine Coast; it’s in our hands.”
Common items collected included glass alcohol bottles, cigarette butts, aluminum cans, plastic bottles and confectionery wrappers.
This year many waterway and coastal groups focused their volunteer efforts on looking for smaller items that may have been broken down and blown away due to recent weather conditions, including ex-tropical cyclone Oma.
Almost all beach sites reported small or micro plastics along the tide lines, while several also reported party or camping related items found and removed from the dunes.
Fortunately, there was less rubbish reported from sites located in busier and popular areas, such as main beaches, rivers and parks, however, sites located in more remote areas of the region reported the continued presence of illegal dumping, with common items including tyres, car parts, mattresses and furniture.
Cr McKay praised the efforts of community members, local schools and site coordinators.
“It’s wonderful to see the number of local schools registered for Clean Up Australia Day also increased this year,” Cr McKay said.
“It’s also encouraging to note that the number of schools and early learning centres that registered a clean-up site outside their school grounds increased as well.
“Mountain Creek State School teamed up with council’s TurtleCare volunteers at Point Cartwright Beach, Sunshine Coast Grammar School cleaned up Coolum Beach and park area, Immanuel Lutheran College focused on Maroochydore Beach, Caloundra State High School took on the Kings Beach boat ramp, Ananda Marga River School headed down to Buddina Beach and Currimundi Childcare and Education Centre organised families to clean up along the northern bank of Currimundi Lake.
“Thank you to all who were involved in the clean-up, and special thanks to the site coordinators who were instrumental in advising volunteers on procedures and assisting in allocating areas for clean up.”