Sparkling results for a tidy beach initiative
  • Friday 18 February 2022
Unity Beach clean-up

Sunshine Coast Council’s Beach Clean Up Program has gone from strength to strength with each year’s results proving just how much our community loves our local environment.

Over the past five years, the program has recorded the greatest number of beach and waterway clean-ups in Australia, with more than 13 tonnes of rubbish removed from our beaches.

It is clear the Sunshine Coast community is driven to keep the environment clean for our wildlife as each year the number of people participating has also increased.

Last year’s program saw almost 3000 participants collectively remove more than 94,000 pieces of rubbish weighing more than two tonnes from 91 Sunshine Coast beach sites.

The program incorporates five regional beach clean-up events: School Beach Clean Up, Clean Up for the Hatchlings, Clean Up Australia Day, World Environmental Day Festival and Plastic Free July.

Community groups nationwide then input their information into the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI) database, recording the location, quantities and types of marine rubbish collected, to give an overview of the impact on beaches across the country and assist with developing source reduction initiatives such as the single use plastic bans.

Sunshine Coast Council Environment Portfolio Councillor Peter Cox thanked everyone involved in the program and emphasised the importance of keeping our waterways rubbish-free. 

“We share the Sunshine Coast with many native wildlife species and we all love enjoying our waterways, wetlands and beaches,” Cr Cox said.

“The Beach Clean-Up program has been instrumental in protecting our environment and the hard work of the participants shows us how important our natural eco-systems are to our community.

“Keep an eye out for more community clean-ups and council-run events across the region, pending COVID restrictions.”

Senior Coastal Conservation and Planning Officer Raeleen Draper said the Beach Clean Up Program had grown tremendously since its inception in January 2016.

“The success of this innovative program can be credited to the dedication of volunteers, schools, plus charity and community groups, Our Clean Ocean Champions, in partnership with Sunshine Coast Council,” Ms Draper said.

“We would like to thank our amazing community for their efforts so far and continue to encourage community groups to record their clean-up data through Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI) database, as this allows us to identify the biggest impacts on our beaches.

“This data has shown us that the main rubbish culprits are cigarette butts, hard and soft plastic and plastic food packaging.

“While our clean-up efforts have been wonderful, it is sad that we have to continue to remove these items from our beaches and that is why we are continuing to work with our community to develop source reduction programs to reduce waste before it reaches our beaches and waterways.”

Our Clean Ocean Champions are listed on Council’s Beach Clean Up Programs webpage – there are monthly clean ups held across the coast. Clean Up Australia Day will be held on Sunday March 6. Check out Clean Up Australia Day’s webpage for more information about a clean up near you.

Search ‘Beach Clean Up Program’ on council’s website for more information.