The Port Phillip Clean Beaches Coalition (of community groups and government agencies) mobilised a comprehensive clean-up of 11 km of foreshore in the City of Port Phillip on Clean Up Australia Day 2011. HUGE THANKS to all who took part in the clean-up!
Over 150 people spent two hours collecting litter from beaches and seawalls between Sandridge and Elwood. They collected and audited 5,558 litter items: 36% cigarette butts, 26% polystyrene pieces, 20% food wrappers, 8% drink bottles, and 6% cups/plates/cutlery. Apart from the polystyrene, what all these items have in common is that they are made of plastic.
The problem is that non-biodegradable plastics do break up into small pieces in the marine environment and are often swallowed by fish and seabirds. The good news is that this data is now being used to inform waste management educators and enforcement agencies from across the wider Melbourne catchment. The community momentum to seriously tackle the marine litter problem continues to grow. The proven success of 3206 Beach Patrol in Middle Park has triggered sister groups in Port Melbourne (3207 Beach Patrol) and Elwood (3184 beach Patrol). Group members are local residents who commit to spending an hour a month picking up litter from their beach.
Such community spirit is great to see, but still leaves us wondering: what part of ‘Do the Right Thing’ don’t people understand?