Marine debris is a major problem for marine ecosystems and the vibrant communities that depend on them. Six million tonnes of fishing gear is lost in the oceans each year, but old fishing gear isn’t even in the top ten most common items found during coastal clean-ups. Three-quarters of marine debris collected is plastic. When plastics enter the ocean, they become increasingly toxic and when plastic is ingested, these concentrated toxins can be delivered to animals and transferred up their food chains. But it’s not all bad news, the D’Entrecasteaux and Huon Collaboration is bringing people together to make a difference.
Last Saturday ‘the Collaboration’ held one of its most exciting events of the year – the Huon Marine Debris Clean-up. The magnificent coastline of Charlotte Cove, Garden Island and surrounds are cleaner thanks to the efforts of the 82 incredible volunteers and collaboration partners, who removed over 9 cubic metres of debris. Thirty-six large bags of rubbish were collected, containing all kinds of materials, plus larger items such as a fridge, engines, car parts, tires, fencing and building materials. Attendees came from a range of organisations, community groups, schools, councils, parks, industry and businesses such as the Parks and Wildlife Service, Kingborough Council, Huon Valley Council, Huon Aquaculture, Tassal, Pakana Services, the DEEP Group at the University of Tasmania, Conservation Volunteers Australia and the Bruny Island Boat Club. Involving all sectors of the community helps inform on the types of debris reaching the waterways and helps us all change our practises.