Citizen scientists are invited to play a lead role in a University of Notre Dame Australia (UNDA) research project that is helping to monitor beach litter levels at Fremantle’s iconic Bathers Bay.
The project, led by Dr Linda Davies from the School of Arts and Sciences and supported by the City of Fremantle, invites regular beach goers to pick up rubbish and deposit it in a specially designed collection bin that was installed last week at the northern end of the bay near the tunnel entrance.
The waste will be analyzed by Dr Davies’ team to determine the main sources of litter and to measure whether government initiatives such as bans on single use plastic bags, straws and cutlery are making a difference.
At almost 2m tall and painted bright blue, the seahorse-themed bin was created by local sculpture artist Melanie Maclou. It has a clear Perspex “stomach” that holds the waste, highlighting what happens when marine fauna mistake rubbish such as plastics for food.
Dr Davies said assistance from members of the public was very important to the project’s success and she was pleased that several citizen scientists had already signed up to help.
“The more people that we have collecting waste for us will help to ensure that our data is as accurate as possible and truly reflects the extent of the waste problem along our beautiful coastline,” she said.
“By removing the litter from the beach, our participants are also helping to ensure harmful plastics and other items don’t end in stomachs of birds, fish and other marine mammals.”