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Capes residents and visitors team up for Tangaroa Blue WA Beach Clean-Up 2023

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Volunteers Kelly Bunney, Casey Woodward and Mandy Polley relax with Brewhouse Margaret River's Iliya Hastings after the clean-up.
Camera IconVolunteers Kelly Bunney, Casey Woodward and Mandy Polley relax with Brewhouse Margaret River's Iliya Hastings after the clean-up. Credit: Tangaroa Blue

Volunteers have turned out in their masses to keep the region’s beaches clear of rubbish as part of Tangaroa Blue’s annual WA Beach Clean-Up.

Community groups, businesses, tourists and organisations like Nature Conservation Margaret River Region teamed up last week to scour local beaches for rubbish, most of which was identified as marine litter coming from the ocean and freighters using shipping laneways far off the coast.

Statewide, the 19th annual event removed more than 3.5 tonnes or waste and involved hundreds of hours of volunteer labour.

Site breakdowns will be released early next year, with all data feeding into the Australian Marine Debris Initiative.

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Project co-ordinator Casey Woodward said an estimated $46.62 per hour pay rate for the equivalent labour meant more than $140,000 was invested in the State’s environment thanks to the donated efforts of volunteers.

“Marine debris negatively impacts marine life, amenities and the way in which we are able to safely interact with our environment,” Ms Woodward said.

“By recording clean-up data into the AMDI Database, we can track debris density changes over time, identify hotspot areas and items, as well as measure the impact of policy changes such as single-use plastic, plastic bag and balloon release bans.”

Cape-to-Cape Explorer Tours founder Gene Hardy said his team, as well as some of their clients, was happy to throw their lot in with the annual beach clean.

“Our hiking guides at Cape to Cape Explorer Tours were really stoked to join the clean-up efforts,” he said.

“We’re out there every week walking the magical Cape to Cape Track, which includes stunning beaches like Redgate, Boodjidup and Deepdene.

“Our guides and hikers pick up any rubbish they see, but they really went the extra mile this time, scouring down at the waterline and up near the dunes for any litter, plastic bottles and small broken-up pieces of plastic,” Mr Hardy said.

“They even lugged some large buoys and jerry cans off the beach and all the way to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse and the nearest bins.”

The operator said although the region’s beaches were among the cleanest in the world, winter and early spring conditions often brought rubbish to the beach during storms.

“Cleaning up the track and picking up any litter we find is such a simple way to care for the environment and give back,” Mr Hardy said. “It’s the least we can do.”

Tangaroa Blue Foundation chief executive Heidi Tait said the organisation was eyeing its 20th annual clean-up next year.

“What makes this event so special is that with volunteers who are joining their very first WA Beach Clean-up, we have long-time volunteers who participated in the very first WA Beach Clean-up in 2005, and they jump in with so much energy every year to support this effort,” she said.

“We are looking forward to reaching such a massive milestone next year, celebrating 20 years of protecting our marine environment from marine debris and plastic pollution.”

Margaret River Brewhouse hosted participants after the day, celebrating the efforts of those helping keep the region’s beaches clear.

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