As the first loggerhead turtles begin making their way along Sunshine Coast beaches to lay their eggs and kick off this year’s season, more than 460 school students have joined forces to clear the beaches of litter and debris.
Students from 15 schools across the region took part in the clean-up, collecting 170kg in just one hour, scouring beaches from Mudjimba through to Bribie Island.
The Unitywater-sponsored beach clean-up enabled students to collect a range of rubbish and marine debris to be recorded in the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI) database, with many students recording their findings using the new AMDI app.
Environment Councillor Jenny McKay said the event also gave the school groups the opportunity to cash in any eligible containers they retrieved from the beach under the State Government’s container refund scheme.
“Sunshine Coast Council kicked off this event in 2016 with two local schools helping to clean-up a local beach in Maroochydore as part of our vision to be Australia’s most sustainable region – healthy, smart, creative,” Cr McKay said.
“Today, we’ve seen students from 15 schools clean-up more than a dozen of our most popular turtle nesting beaches.
“It’s wonderful to see so many students taking part in this event and doing their best to protect our environment, and our turtles, and potentially taking advantage of the containers for change scheme to support their school as well.”
Unitywater community relations specialist Kate Cash said it was wonderful to see the next generation so passionate about keeping the region’s beaches and waterways clean.
“We are proud to support this event and each year are amazed at how much rubbish is collected, which really shouldn’t be there in the first place,” she said.
“It’s inspiring that these kids are so keen to keep their community clean, to protect the turtles and their future.
“As part of our sponsorship, we provided a water refill station for one lucky school that took part to help them get Back to Tap.”
Division 8 Cr Jason O’Pray encouraged everyone to continue to reduce the amount of litter on the beach, particularly during the busy summer season.
“Each and every year we have tireless volunteers, and eager students, doing their bit to help protect our environment and improve our beaches,” Cr O’Pray said.
“While we continue to support their efforts, there are simple things everyone in the community can do to reduce the litter on our beaches.
“I encourage everyone to be mindful of their rubbish, take your litter with you when you leave and – if you’re walking your dogs along the beach - please remember to place any poo bags in the bins located at the beach access.
“These are small things, that don’t take a lot of time, or effort, but they can make a big difference to our environment, and our community.”