Almost 40kg of trash collected from Four Mile Beach

ENVIRONMENT

Karlie Brady

Journalist

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Volunteers from US Youth group, Carpe Diem, cleaning up Four Mile Beach. Image: Supplied.
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Tangaroa Blue is continuing its mission to clean up the coast, collecting almost 40kg of rubbish from Four Mile Beach over the last few days.

The Tangaroa Blue Foundation is an Australia-wide not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the removal and prevention of marine debris.

On Thursday and Saturday Tangaroa Blue hit the beach in Port Douglas, joined by volunteers from Cisco Australia and New Zealand, an IT company visiting as part of their annual conference, and Carpe Diem, a US Youth group.

Tangaroa Blue CEO and founder, Heidi Taylor, said clean-up days like these are extremely important for the local environment.

“We know that marine debris is one of the biggest threats to the Great Barrier Reef,” she said.

“We know plastics are often ingested by both wildlife and coral and these plastics contain toxins. We as humans also eat fish that ingest these toxins.

“It can also affect tourism because people don’t want to sit on dirty beaches so it can also have an economic impact,” she said.

Ms Taylor added that removing what they can from the beach is the easiest way to clean up this rubbish, but it is not all that needs to be done.

“If all we ever do is clean up then that is all we will ever do, so stopping it at the source is vitally important.”

The Australian Marine Debris initiative coordinated by Tangaroa Blue aims to do just that by collecting data to track the source of the debris washed up along the coastline.

“We also work with local communities, businesses, and governments to help find solutions and we provide advice and data to the state and federal governments on issues that are occurring in more than one location,” Ms Taylor said.

At the end of the year, Tangaroa will analyse its data to determine if there have been any impacts from recent initiatives such as banning single-use plastic bags or the Containers for Change refund scheme.

She said they have already seen a significant reduction of plastic straws since programs like the Straw No More campaign in Cairns began, but straws are only one of the many items they find on the shoreline.

“Port Douglas is an interesting site as we get a lot of debris that is left on the beach, but we also get stuff that comes in from the ocean.

“It could be from overseas or it may have been out in the ocean for a while fragmenting and breaking up into smaller pieces,” Ms Taylor said.

The recent Four Mile Beach clean-up is just one of many of Tangaroa Blue’s continuous clean-ups along the coast.

They will be back at Four Mile Beach on 8 December and are always looking for volunteers, to get involved visit Tangaroa Blue.


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