The waterways of stunning Bruny Island are cleaner thanks to the efforts of the 114 volunteers and the D’Entrecasteaux and Huon Collaboration (DHC) partners who joined a marine debris clean up event last Saturday 25 May, removing over 10 cubic metres of debris. Organised by the DHC, these annual clean-ups have removed more than 75 cubic metres of marine debris from southern Tasmania’s waters since 2016.
Attendees came from a range of organisations, community groups, schools, councils, parks, industry and businesses such as the Kingborough Council, Huon Aquaculture, Taswater, Tassal, Parks and Wildlife Service, pakana Services and Conservation Volunteers Australia. The Bruny Island Boat Club hosted the event and local legend Dion Dillon directed land-based teams to marine debris hotshots, whist a local boat and multiple Tassal boat crews collected debris from the more remote locations.
Volunteers worked in small teams; exploring the magnificent coastlines, learning about different types of litter, and counting and recording the debris found. Seventy large bags of rubbish were collected containing gum boots, thongs, tent poles, balls, oyster frames, flippers, buoys/foam, bottle caps, plastic and glass bottles, cans, balloons, bricks, microplastics, plenty of fine rope fragments, rubber, fishing gear, plastic food packaging, supermarket bags, car parts, tyres, pipe, timber and lots of hard plastic remnants. All the marine debris was counted and recorded. The information will be uploaded onto a national database that helps researchers work out where the debris is coming from and how it got there.
Marine debris, especially plastics, is a major challenge for us all. When plastic enters the ocean, it become increasingly toxic and when ingested, these concentrated toxins can be delivered to animals and transferred up their food chains. All around the world people are working together to make a difference.
The most effective way to reduce the harmful effects of marine debris is to prevent it from entering the waterways in the first place. Much of the debris collected on the coasts was from land-based/urban sources. We have the power to stop this. Single-use plastics of any kind, including grocery bags, cutlery, straws, polystyrene and coffee cups, are preventable sources of marine debris. Working together, we can make significant strides to reduce marine debris impacts in coastal areas and in the marine environment.
The D’Entrecasteaux and Huon Collaboration is supported through funding from NRM South and the D’Entrecasteaux and Huon Collaboration partners – the Derwent Estuary Program, Huon Aquaculture, Huon Valley and Kingborough Councils, Tassal and TasWater.