The old saying ‘a little goes a long way’ rings true for how much damage a single piece of plastic can cause, whether ingested by a marine turtle or pelican, blocking the flow of a waterway or littering pathways.
However, ‘little’ acts of good the community takes this Plastic Free July also go a long way to better the Sunshine Coast’s beaches, waterways, parks and overall environment.
Sunshine Coast Council has aligned with several community groups this month to raise awareness and create opportunity to eliminate or swap out single-use plastics or help pick up littered plastic across the region.
To help go plastic free, community members are invited to participate in a beach clean up, attend a hands-on workshop or documentary film screening, and join the Sunshine Coast Living Smart #BYOSunshineCoast challenge for a chance to win local prizes including a Whale One Cruise, TreeTop Challenge and plastic free kits.
Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay says that while Plastic Free July is a wonderful and necessary reminder to the community, she’d like to see more people reducing and picking up waste all year long.
“I encourage everyone across the Sunshine Coast region, from the beaches to the hinterland, to take part in Plastic Free July this month,” Cr McKay said.
“When you pick up a piece a plastic, or swap out a single-use plastic bottle for a reusable metal one, you’ll not only feel better, but start a much needed habit that will better our overall environment.
“Make a pledge this Plastic Free July, and I challenge you to keep that pledge in the months and years to come.
“We’re fortunate on the Sunshine Coast to have such pristine natural assets, so let’s all do our part to keep them that way.”
Fortunately, over the past few years the region’s beach clean ups have showed increased participation, and therefore improved impact.
Council’s second annual Beach Clean Up Program report shows that more than 2,800 volunteers from all age groups engaged with the program.
In fact, the number of participants from schools, community groups and businesses is up by more than 30% from last year.
The report also includes a comparison of local government areas across Australia and demonstrates the Sunshine Coast Council region has recorded the highest level of beach and waterway clean ups across the country over the past three years. This has been a combined effort of the Sunshine Coast community and council’s beach and waterway clean up programs.
The Beach Clean Up Program is now in its third year, and initiatives are well underway to ensure that clean ups, education and rubbish reduction projects are included as part of council’s regular environmental efforts.
As is always the case, the more the community can do to reduce, replace and clean up plastic and other wastes, the more everyone benefits.
To learn more about what you can do this Plastic Free July, please visit www.livingsmartqld.com.au/plasticfreejuly.
Remember to commit to swapping out single-use plastic items for reusable alternatives for a chance to win great local prizes by sharing your efforts on Facebook or Instagram with #BYOSunshineCoast and #PlasticFreeJuly.