Clean Up Australia Day has been a nationally recognised day since 1990, when Sydney man, Ian Kiernan, decided to initiate a clean up in his local area. Since then, it’s grown to be more than just a day of rubbish collecting, with groups across the country using it as an opportunity to rally against the creation of more unnecessary waste.
Our wonderful Phillip Island community showed us how much they care about their local beaches and marine environment on Sunday, as 135 participants gathered at Cowes Main Beach Foreshore to lend a hand.
We had half the crew digging through sand on the seashore, while the other half pulled bottles, shoes and laptops (not even kidding) out from under rocks on the seafloor. Altogether, our volunteers collected a whopping 310kg of rubbish!
With the help of the fantastic Tangaroa Blue team and many other volunteer hands, we were able to sort, weigh and record the debris in just over three hours. Of the 310kg collected, we counted a total of 15,985 individual items. Breaking this down further gave us the following stats:
5315 cig butts
736 plastic food packaging
108 plastic bags
189 aluminium cans
432 glass bottles
100 fishing lures and sinkers
800 metres of fishing line
74 plastic drink bottles
32 plastic cutlery
38 cables ties
It was a mammoth community effort and we couldn’t be more proud of everyone who came along to help out. Huge thanks goes to the Dive2U snorkelers and divers who trawled in debris from around the jetty, our beach and foreshore cleaners who sifted through sand and rummaged around dunes and under bushes, as well as participating organisations Tangaroa Blue, Phillip Island Nature Parks, Westernport Water, Boomerang Bags Phillip Island & San Remo, Wildlife Coast Cruises, Totally Renewable Phillip Island, and pre-loved clothing donors and businesses Mindful Kitchen, Nordic Kantine, Youki's, Barefoot Potential - Yoga Phillip Island for allowing participants to swap their trash for treasures after their hard work!
Also thanks to Danni Baylis for her beautiful tunes, and to Bass Coast Shire Council for their help along the way and for collecting the litter at the end of the day. We'd also like to thank the team at Seaside Scavenge for giving us some great advice in getting the event off the ground.
Events like these are crucial in providing data to help create positive change and reduce marine debris at their sources within our community.
Keep an eye out for the next beach clean near you, or if you live locally, why not start one yourself? Every piece of rubbish picked up can save a life!