As local residents and community organisations embrace Plastic-Free July, statistics from the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI) database have revealed that the Sunshine Coast community is leading the nation in its goal to remove litter and debris from our oceans, beaches and waterways.
Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay praised the efforts of community volunteers and local schools, which she said had been bolstered with support from Sunshine Coast Council’s marine debris reduction program.
“Council started its marine debris reduction program in late 2016 with a nine-month trial supporting 35 beach clean ups,” Cr McKay said.
“In just nine months we partnered with local schools and community groups to remove more than 2000kg of marine debris from our beaches which is a great result for our local environment.
“However, these huge figures highlight how important it is for our whole community think twice before littering to help improve the health of our ocean, our beaches and our waterways.”
Following this success, the program was extended for a further three years and has gone from strength to strength with almost 1900 local students, community groups and volunteers taking part in 83 council supported clean-up events across the Coast between September 2017 to May this year.
In that time, these volunteers have collected more than 107,000 pieces of litter and removed more than 3800kg (3867 kg) of debris from our beaches and waterways.
Cr McKay said council had also empowered local community groups to conduct their own clean-ups and record their litter reduction efforts by providing training in the sorting and recording of the debris collected.
“Since the commencement of this program in 2016, there have been a total of 428 beach and waterway clean-up events recorded through the AMDI database on the Sunshine Coast, more than any other local government area in Australia,” she said.
“This is an incredible achievement that demonstrates just how much our community prides itself on not only keeping our beaches beautiful and clean for our enjoyment, but in doing our part in protecting our local marine life.”
To continue the momentum and encourage the next generation of clean-ocean champions to get involved in litter reduction, Sunshine Coast Council together with Sea Life Sunshine Coast, Unitywater and Noosa Council will welcome clean ocean campaigner, and Take 3 founder, Tim Silverwood back to the Sunshine Coast for a sold out event this weekend.
More than 50 children from across the region will join Tim in a clean-up event at Mooloolaba before viewing the eco-documentary Blue the Film at Sea Life Sunshine Coast.
Residents of all ages who are keen to find out more about the challenges of marine debris, and how they can get involved in local clean-up events or are keen to see Blue the Film are invited to attend a free screening at Plaza Cinemas on Friday ,July 20.
Registrations are essential and full details of the event are available on council’s website.
Students from Nambour State College take part in a local beach clean-up event at North shore.