Students from South East Queensland have been congratulated today for their efforts in ridding the environment of rubbish, as part of Tangalooma EcoMarines’ The Wave celebrations.
Speaking at the event today, Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch said it was great to see so many students passionate about protecting the environment.
“There are a total 49 secondary and primary schools and more than 250 Early Learning Centres who have helped reduce litter in local waterways through the EcoMarines program, which is fantastic.
“There are many schools and early learning centres that have also been advocating to increase recycling and reducing waste at school and at home.
“These young people are our future, and to see such enthusiasm and passion for protecting the environment and reducing waste means our state will continue to thrive, and the future of Queensland’s unique environment and waterways will be in safe hands.”
Minister Enoch said stopping plastic polluting waterways was a major achievement for these students.
“Plastic pollution can have a devastating impact on marine wildlife,” she said.
“We know that approximately 90% of seabirds have ingested plastic of some kind, as have about 30% of turtles, so it is vital that we help reduce plastic in our environment.
“It is great to see and hear about the inspiring work students have been doing to protect and clean-up our waterways and Moreton Bay.”
The Palaszczuk Government has supported Tangalooma EcoMarines Foundation with $33,900 in funding to help remove marine debris from Moreton Bay under the Community Sustainability Action Grants program.
“The program supports locally based, community driven projects which encourage real change in Queensland,” Minister Enoch said.
“This program, which started last year and is running until next year, helps educate the community about the risks of marine debris, and it has to date engaged more than 60 volunteers who participated in two clean up events, including at Wynnum and Kangaroo Point.
“At these clean-ups, volunteers collected a total 26.5kg of marine debris including single use plastics such as straws and cable ties, plastic and cardboard packaging, footwear, glass bottles, cigarette butts.”
Tangalooma EcoMarines Chairman David James said the State Government’s support had helped thousands of young students to reduce litter in local waterways through the EcoMarines program.
“We now have eight Secondary Schools, 41 Primary Schools and over 250 Early Learning Centres participating in EcoMarines” Mr James said.
“These students are taking the initiative to reduce waste in their schools, home and community through tangible action.
“They are changing behaviours and inspiring others to do the same.”
Minister Enoch said the passion shown by the students in reducing waste would help put Queensland on the right path to meeting the 2050 targets in the new waste strategy, including to have a 75% recycling rate across all waste types, and ensuring 90% of waste is recovered and not ending up in landfill.
“The Palaszczuk Government has implemented a suite of measures to improve waste management in Queensland.
“Last year we implemented a ban on single-use plastic bags, which has seen an incredible 70% drop in plastic bag litter.
“And Queensland’s container refund scheme, Containers for Change, which came into effect almost a year ago has helped reduce litter in the environment by about 35%.”
For more information about the Tangalooma EcoMarines program, visit www.ecomarines.com.
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch