Volunteers needed trucks to take the haul of rubbish away
Volunteers needed trucks to take the haul of rubbish away

Plastic not fantastic at Five Rocks

THE REEF Clean event removed about 900kg of harmful marine debris from Five Rocks beach surrounding Ramsar areas last weekend.

The clean-up was hosted by the local branch of the Surfrider Foundation and Capricornia Catchments supported by Queensland Water and Land Carers, Livingstone Shire Council, the Fitzroy Basin Association and Cleanwater Group.

Capricornia Catchments representative Shelly McArdle said 50 volunteers participated in the clean-up, down from the predicted 70 because of the threat of bushfire in the Shoalwater Bay area.

Volunteers collecting data from the marine debris collected
Volunteers collecting data from the marine debris collected

“We received the all clear from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and the event went ahead as planned,” Ms McArdle said.

“The enthusiastic group removed the debris from Five Rocks, Nine Mile and Three Rivers beaches with the largest portion of the debris being plastic.

“The ReefClean Project is designed to deliver actions that reduce the amount of marine debris in the Great Barrier Reef.

“The debris poses a threat to threatened and migratory species, dugongs and turtles and ecosystems.

“The data from the debris we find goes into the Tangaroa Blue Australian Marine Debris Initiative Database which will then provide the information we need for the upcoming source reduction workshop that is planned for Yeppoon on September 20.

“It is so important to increase awareness in reef catchment communities about the issue of marine debris and actions they can undertake to prevent litter from entering reef waterways in the first place.

“This event demonstrates how much people from all walks of life are prepared to lend a hand to make sure it is as beautiful as it is now into the future.”

Surfrider Foundation’s John McGrath said it wasn’t all hard work with the late afternoon providing an opportunity for people to explore the considerable natural beauty of the Five Rocks area with people discarding their gloves and heading to the beach.

“On the walk around the headlands, some were fortunate enough to watch a mother and calf humpback whale resting in the shallows,” he said.

“Down the track to the beach, people were able to cool off under the fresh waterfall while others body surfed small barrelling waves. A few turtles were feeding on sea grass close to the shore, amazing natural beauty all around.

“We were impressed to see a good number of new faces in the mix this time, it means the message is getting out there and it is being heard.”

FBA’s community participation officer Lisa Del Riccio said the visible difference one weekend and 50 volunteers have made to Nine Mile is astounding.

“The Five Rocks Clean Up event has created a community, and not just of eco-minded people, but retirees, four-wheel drivers, fishermen, toddlers and day-trippers,” she said.

ReefClean is funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and delivered by Tangaroa Blue Foundation in partnership with Capricornia Catchments.

Date Claimers: September 20 ReefClean Source Reduction Workshop, Yeppoon,

September 29 Livingstone Sustainability Expo Yeppoon and October 6 Great Barrier Reef Clean Up Bangalee Beach. For more information on these and heaps of others contact Shelly McArdle on 0428 123 244 or smcardle @capcatchments.org.au.

Or visit the Capricornia Catchments and ReefClean Facebook pages.