Tangarao removes 50,000 odd bits of trash in 2009
On Friday evening at the Port Douglas Coast Guard Building Heidi Taylor from the Tangarao Blue Ocean Care organisation announced to a her audience of dedicated and determined helpers that their work groups had been responsible for clearing up a staggering grand total of 48,748 items of rubbish from Four Mile, Newell, Cooya and Wonga Beaches and from Lowe, Woody and Snapper Islands.
This rubbish, you will (or should) be ashamed to learn consists of 20,201 plastic items, 1,357 glass and ceramic items and 2,726 cigarette butts just from our very own Four Mile Beach. Even on Lowe Isle they removed 10,698 items ! Its bad enough that all this rubbish poses such a massive threat to our marine life but what we don't seem to be comprehending as regular uses of this fantastic facility is that this trash also poses a huge danger to ourselves and our children and pets. Heidi Taylor generates such passion for this monumental task she has taken on that it's difficult not to feel a element of shame how the rest of us can possibly be trashing our very own backyard but trash it we are !
All Heidi and her willing and dedicated band of helpers want from the rest of us is some consideration for our environment. How hard can it be ? Take any packaging, bottles and cigarette butts you bring with you back home with you. All it takes is a plastic bag for trash to be packed in your picnic hamper or esky. Then on your way out, just dump it in the dustbins provided at the beach exits or better yet take it all the way home and recycle it in your own waste bins. Do not under any circumstances throw it on your fire, if you're having one. It doesn't disappear, plastic for example just melts together and it creates a bigger lump, take your rubbish home with you, after all you'd normally put it in the bin at home, you wouldn't through it on your front room floor would you ?
At the workshop on Friday, Heidi preaches a very pragmatic and professional approach to the overall clean up process. Her experience seems to tell her that it is a three prong attack, firstly to identify anything that keeps turning up. This can then be reported to the relevant governmental body for remedial action. A wonderful success story for this approach is the ties that were used on fishing boxes. It was discovered that when discarded in the seas they caused great harm to marine life as they got caught up in them.
It took 5 years but by law these ties are now removed from the boxes before the boats leave harbour and apparently new self locking boxes have been developed so the problem will disappear completely in time. A simple solution to would not have been discovered without Heidi and her team. The second approach is one of a continued education process to the general public about the consequences of their irresponsible and inconsiderate non-disposal of trash (Ed note: Heidi didn't use these words, I did) and lastly and inevitably the most common, that of organising clean up projects to limit the detrimental affect of all the rubbish discarded on our beautiful beaches and in our fast being endangered oceans.
See <link tangaroa-guardian-of-the-sea-instigates.3454.0.html external link in new>Newsport's interview with Heidi Taylor 15 December
Editors Comments: Well done, Heidi and her team, however I know it's not accolades that she wants, it's action and consideration from all of us. I use the beach a lot in the early evenings for a touch of relaxation and a wind down, If I see anyone irresponsibly discarding rubbish on the beach, I will make it my business to find out who they are and I will publish their names to advise the rest of the world who you are, I believe it's called 'naming and shaming'. You have been warned ! Hey, the other thing we could all do, is join or support the regular beach clean up teams, they seem to have quite a laugh while they are clearing up after us !