TERRIBLE WASTE: A beach at Byfield National Park in Yeppoon is polluted with garbage. Beaches like this around Gladstone will be part of the clean-up.
TERRIBLE WASTE: A beach at Byfield National Park in Yeppoon is polluted with garbage. Beaches like this around Gladstone will be part of the clean-up.

Help keep the region’s natural beauty

Every little bit of rubbish counts as volunteers prepare to clean Gladstone’s beaches, islands and waterways.

Great Barrier Reef Clean-up will be held across Australia during October to counteract a worsening rubbish crisis.

Harmful accumulations of plastic bits, glass, cigarette butts and more are strewn across sands and mudflats.

Tangaroa Blue Foundation database project officer Jodi Jones said Gladstone had done 362 clean-ups in the last two years and would again be taking part.

“Gladstone has actually done the third-highest number of clean-ups in Australia which reflects a massive community effort,” said Ms Jones.

Ms Jones said volunteers would scour locations such as Curtis and Facing Islands, Calliope and Benaraby rivers, Canoe Point, Fisherman’s Landing and Auckland Creek.

The most common types of rubbish in Gladstone were bits of plastic broken down from packaging followed by glass and ceramics and thirdly cigarette butts.

Ms Jones said cigarette butts were a big problem because of toxic chemicals and slow breakdown.

Volunteers have removed 8,387 cigarette butts from the environment in Gladstone, she said.

“There are certain carparks in Gladstone where people aggregate and put their butts out on the ground and these drain into the ocean,” she said.

Ms Jones said data and information from the clean-up would be used to devise strategies to combat littering in key areas.

She said 14.4 million items had been collected nationally over the life of the program and encouraged everyone to consider their impact.

“Every little bit counts,” she said.

Tangaroa Blue Foundation managing director Heidi Taylor said the ocean rubbish problem was affecting animals like nesting turtles, dugong and whales.

It was especially bad on remote north Queensland beaches, some of which were buried under one tonne of rubbish per kilometre.

“On some beaches turtles can’t make nests because the beaches are so laden with plastic,” she said.

The Great Barrier Reef Clean-up is part of the 5-year ReefClean project and will be launched on October 5 and 6, with people encouraged to organise clean-ups during the month.

ReefClean is funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and delivered by Tangaroa Blue Foundation, Conservation Volunteers Australia, AUSMAP, Capricornia Catchments, Eco Barge Clean Seas, OceanWatch Australia, Reef Check Australia and South Cape York Catchments.

To register visit www.reefclean.org



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