Groundswell of interest in beach clean-up
There’s been a groundswell of registrations for the 2023 Tangaroa Blue WA Beach Clean-up, with volunteers putting their hand up to clear litter from most beaches across the Margaret River region.
In fact, there’s been so much interest that organisers Tangaroa Blue and local partners Nature Conservation Margaret River Region have closed registrations for the clean-up from October 13-15.
This year there is an exciting new format to boost the impact of the annual event. In previous years, one beach was selected as the site for volunteers to pick up plastic rubbish and litter. But this year individuals, couples, families, groups of friends or workplace colleagues can nominate a favourite beach or coastal location and spend a couple of hours picking up litter anytime over the 3-day event.
It means that many smaller groups will be covering dozens of beaches, resulting in a better outcome for the environment. On Sunday, October 15 from 3pm, Margaret River Brewhouse is hosting a “Sip and Sort” event with free snacks for volunteers to celebrate the work and for the litter to be sorted and recorded.
“The registrations are pouring in and the response has been incredible so far. We have great coverage of the Capes region and more than 90 locations registered across the state,” says Casey Woodward, who coordinates Tangaroa Blue’s WA projects. She urged anyone who hadn’t registered but still wanted to volunteer to contact the Friends of the Cape to Cape Track and join the group’s beach clean-up efforts.
Among the army of volunteers registered for the clean-up is Margaret River-based ecotourism company Cape to Cape Explorer Tours, which runs guided hiking adventures on the Cape to Cape Track and also runs the accommodation hub Surfpoint Resort. Its guides and guests have put their hands up to remove any litter and washed up plastic bottles from the 6km length of Deepdene Beach. “We walk the Cape to Cape every day and our guides and hikers are always collecting any litter that washes up on the beaches. So it’ll be business as usual for us – but it’s great to team up with Tangaroa Blue and Nature Conservation and be part of a state-wide beach clean-up,” says Cape to Cape Explorer Tours founder Gene Hardy. Cape to Cape Explorer Tours hiking guide Murray Stevenson (pictured) will be part of the team cleaning up Deepdene Beach.
All the rubbish collected by volunteers will feed into the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI) database – the largest marine debris database in the southern hemisphere with more than 23 million entries. The data is used to identify rubbish hot spots and types of litter as well as lobby for better marine and coastal protection and conservation. “It also provides the evidence required to incite real change”, says Ms Woodward.
Nature Conservation’s coastal officer Mandy Polley urged surfers, hikers, fishers and anyone who enjoys the coast to help collect rubbish and keep our coast pristine. “Our beaches are a playground for families, surfers and beach-lovers. Register your favourite beach or special location, and give just a couple of hours of your time to help keep it clean,” she said.
Now in its 19th year, the annual beach clean-up is Tangaroa Blue’s largest people-powered event on the calendar and a favourite for families, community groups, local governments and indigenous ranger groups to contribute to a clean ocean.
Margaret River Beer Co. director Iliya Hastings said our coastline “plays such a big role in the ‘Margs’ way of life, so it’s a no-brainer for our team to throw our support behind the annual clean-up”. “The day not only makes our beaches more natural and enjoyable but provides really important information used to influence change in moving our society away from single use plastics and other packaging materials that harm our ocean.”
To find out more, see www.tangaroablue.org or www.natureconservation.org.au. The WA Beach Clean-Up is funded thanks to partners Keep Australia Beautiful WA, Tallwood Custom Built Homes, Southern Ports Authority and GHD Consulting while Nature Conservation’s Caring for Coast program is funded by the Line In The Sand philanthropic group.