What a huge weekend for conservation, with dozens of volunteers joining Nature Conservation Margaret River Region and Tangaroa Blue for WA’s largest beach clean-up.
Teams of volunteers, friends and work colleagues nominated beaches up and down the Capes region to pick up litter from, and last Sunday afternoon they came together at the Margaret River Brewhouse for a “Sip and Sort” event to tally up and categorise the rubbish items.
“What a great effort but everyone to care for our coast, particularly on a weekend that was so hot!” says Nature Conservation’s Caring for Coast officer Mandy Polley.
There was 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 and organisers closing registrations for the clean-up from October 13-15.
This year there was 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 meant many smaller groups will be covering dozens of beaches, resulting in a better outcome for the environment. Among the groups and businesses to take part were Friends of the Cape to Cape Track and local ecotourism company Cape to Cape Explorer Tours, whose hikers and guides scoured Deepdene Beach.
All the rubbish collected by volunteers will now be fed 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 Casey Woodward, who coordinates Tangaroa Blue’s WA projects.
Brewhouse 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,” he said.
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.