Image: Collected litter and marine debris is sorted by Immanuel Lutheran College students for the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI) database.
In anticipation of the first female turtles arriving on Sunshine Coast shores to lay their eggs and kick off the nesting season, more than 250 school students, teachers and volunteers joined forces to clear beaches and waterways of litter and debris.
Students from eight schools across the region took part in the fourth annual Schools Beach Clean-Up, collecting rubbish from Coolum to Buddina this morning (November 7).
Following the clean-up, groups came together at La Balsa Park in Buddina to weigh the 190.5kg of litter they collected.
Students then sorted and analysed the range of rubbish and marine debris, all of which was recorded in the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI) database.
Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay reflected on the importance of this beach clean-up for the future of our healthy, smart, creative region.
“Sunshine Coast Council started hosting this event for our youth in 2016, with just two schools cleaning up one beach site,” Cr McKay said.
“It’s grown year after year, along with several other community beach clean-ups, and we’re also seeing an uptake in youth initiatives encouraging this positive behaviour change for a more sustainable future.
“I’m so pleased that Olivia Allen, from Immanuel Lutheran College, and Zac McEwen, from Meridan State College, have together taken this important message and developed the SeaFrame project through the Generation Innovation Challenge.
“And many more students, from Cam Spooner in Coolum to the young Visionary Ocean Warriors in Caloundra are all helping spread the message to go plastic free and pick up rubbish when we see it.”
Division 3 Councillor Peter Cox echoed Cr McKay’s sentiments, and also noted the importance of looking after our beaches and waterways, for both wildlife and the region’s coastal processes.
“With summer fast approaching and the turtle nesting season upon us, we want to make sure our beaches and waterways are safe for our community and wildlife,” Cr Cox said.
“These wonderful students and volunteers have again set a fantastic example to the rest of us in helping protect our environment and improve our beaches.
“It is council’s goal that through this and other clean-up activities, by providing educational information about our coastline via our new Coastal Discovery Van, and through regular messaging on our bins, signage and other communication outlets, our community’s awareness about the impact of marine debris to our beaches and threatened species will grow.
“I encourage everyone to be mindful of their rubbish and to responsibly dispose of both landfill litter and recyclables; these are small, everyday actions that don’t take too much time or effort, but collectively can make a big difference to our environment.”
Schools involved in the clean-up included Buderim State School, Chancellor State College, Eudlo State School, Immanuel Lutheran College, Maroochydore State High School, Montessori College, Pacific Paradise State School and Sunshine Coast Home Educators.
Many thanks to this year’s event supporters Unitywater, Cleanwater Group, Ten Little Pieces, Cam Saves the World, SeaFrame, Ocean Crusaders, Visionary Ocean Warriors and TurtleCare volunteers.