Cottesloe Community Clean-up

Monday, 01 Jul, 2019

Commentary by Marine Debris Campaign Relationship & Advocacy Coordinator Marina Hansen 

Our three Perth Marine Debris Teams got a head start on Sea Shepherd’s Plastic Free for the Oceans in July events at their special clean-up at Cottesloe Beach, WA yesterday.

A delicious community breakfast hosted by Sea Shepherd was followed by speeches by Stephen Dawson MLC – the WA Environment Minister, Town of Cottesloe Councillor Sally Pyvis and former Councillor Sandy Boulter who spoke of the respective initiatives at the State and Local Government level to reduce single-use plastics and provided ideas on how we can all advocate for further change. The final speaker was 13-year old local lad Ollie Hayers who, along with two school friends, are setting a wonderful example to their peers raising awareness about the impacts of marine plastic pollution in their community. It’s Ollie’s generation who will inherit the problems in our oceans that society creates today.

The WA Environment Minister Stephen Dawson addresses the cleanup volunteers.

With the Perth winter in full swing everyone was hoping for a fine day but it wasn’t to be with heavy rain and winds present for most of the morning, making it tough conditions. Needless to say the clean-up was a success with 89 people participating and 10,554 pieces of marine debris (weighting 89 kilograms) no longer at Cottesloe Beach.

When the bags of rubbish started arriving back we noticed an unusually high number of cotton ear bud sticks (342), polystyrene bean bag balls (1,370) and plastic food packaging (993). Microplastics were scattered across the beach and the volunteers were tenacious in the rain picking them up which brought the total of hard plastics up to a whopping 3,261 pieces.

The morning saw the rescue of a freshwater long next turtle which was found on the beach trying to dig its way into the sand. We contacted the Wildcare Helpline and a wildlife carer advised the poor turtle had probably washed out of a nearby stormwater drain. The good news is that the turtle was transported straight away to a nearby freshwater lake. A reminder to everyone what goes down the drain can easily end up in the ocean.

We must thank the following supporters for making this event so special. To Michael Goh for the photography, Tim from Coastal Crunch for donating the locally made muesli, to our friends at Greenbatch for supplying the PET1 and HDPE2 recycling bins, to Claire from Ocean Remedy who did two microplastics surveys and Stuart McCann for lending us his van to transport all the equipment.

See below for a selection of photos from our Cottesloe community cleanup. 

You too can take direct action and join the Sea Shepherd crew at one of our monthly clean-ups.

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