Adopt a beach
Eyre Peninsula locals and community groups are stepping up to address the issue of marine debris on local beaches. An analysis of marine debris monitoring information collected by volunteers from the Eyre Peninsula coast over the last ten years reveals our beaches still require the attention.
NRM Coastal Officer Gemma Marshall encourages groups and individuals who are interested in adopting a beach for clean up, and importantly to learn how to record marine debris using a standardised method so it counts in the Australian Marine Debris Database, to contact Natural Resources EP.
“I think attitudes are changing, particularly those of our youngest citizens who are leading the way and showing how easy some of these changes can be made,” Gemma said.
“We’ve seen more teachers lately wanting to get involved and adopt a local beach. Since 2008 we’ve actually had two long-term survey sites running where we’ve collected and recorded 3281kg from an area spanning just 2 km.
“The survey sites are located at Black Point near Whyalla and Point Bolingbroke south of Tumby Bay and from these monitoring sites we’ve recorded and collected six different types of rubbish (plastics, glass, rubber, metal, timber/paper/fabric). More can always be done.
“As part of our continual improvement of environmental projects all future marine debris results will be entered into the national database using the Tangaroa Blue Foundation marine debris recording method.
“We are here to assist other keen individuals and groups in this method. This way people, even at an international level, will be able to learn about marine debris here and hopefully this will inspire more action,” Gemma said.
Marine debris surveys conducted by volunteers and staff have detected changes in the type and amount of rubbish around the Eyre Peninsula and assisted in monitoring effectiveness of industry-based clean-ups. In partnership with Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula the local aquaculture industry began their adopt a beach program in 2012, which sees 155 km of coastline in the lower Spencer Gulf cleaned four times per year.
“Even getting to this point we owe much to the dedicated efforts of volunteers like Trevor Nottle who has cleaned and recorded marine debris over a 1 km stretch at Black Point, Whyalla, since 2008.
Trevor Nottle became involved in the monitoring after listening to a presentation on marine debris by former Coastal Officer Kerryn McEwan.
“Common items I’ve found include broken glass, fishing lures, plastic straws and bags, bait bags, plastic takeaway containers, metres of rope, wood and shoes. At the south facing beach survey site I monitor I’ve collected three tonne of marine debris,” Trevor said.
“I believe this is important because we need information about what is out there, to identify sources of debris and be able to better target prevention methods. Without monitoring over time we would not be able to see improvements, changes or catch infrequent events i.e. shearwater migration die –off.
“Others should get involved because there is a lot of coast to cover and the more data we can collect the better we can target future actions. Seeing the environment change over time is very rewarding and it feels good to contribute to a larger effort.”
For more information on Natural Resources EP adopt a beach program visit: www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/eyrepeninsula/coast-and-marine/coast-marine-management