Sunshine Coast kids clean up our beaches for the turtles
  • Thursday 12 November 2020
Schools beach clean up 2020

Eight schools, 262 students, teachers and parents, over eight days have picked up 121 kilograms or almost 4000 pieces of litter from Sunshine Coast beaches to get the sand ready for the arrival of nesting turtles as part of the annual Schools Beach Clean Up.

During the beach clean up, which took place from Monday 2 November to Monday 16 November, the students also brainstormed solutions to cut out litter at the source and stop it ending up on the beach in the first place.

Students from Coolum State School, Buderim Mountain State School, Maroochydore State High School, Buddina State School, St Johns College, Immanuel Lutheran College, Chancellor State College and Pacific Paradise State School all volunteered to clean up their local beach.

Single use plastics were the most common items found including plastic food packets, plastic straws and plastic takeaway drink cups.

Scoute Myer, a Year 7 student from Maroochydore State High School was surprised by the amount and variety of rubbish they found during their clean up of Maroochydore Beach.

“We found a huge bolt and we also found tissues and clothing items,” Ms Myer said.

“I think people should reduce litter on the beach by looking for a bin or have a container they can put rubbish in so they can take it home to put it in the bin, so they aren’t littering our beaches and oceans.

“My ideas to reduce single used plastics are to stop plastics at the source, like at the factories, or by using bio-degradable materials instead, like cardboard.”

Environmental Operations Senior Project Officer Raeleen Draper thanked the students for contributing towards a clean marine environment.

“The response from the Schools Beach Clean Up event has been fantastic. We’ve got so many enthusiastic students, teachers and even parents coming along to clean up the beach for the turtles,” Ms Draper said.

“These students are our future and at the schools beach clean-up event, they can see firsthand the impact rubbish has on the marine environment.

“Their passion, and innovative source reduction ideas and actions have been inspiring. They understand why it’s so important to stop litter at the source, before it even reaches our environment.

“The 2020 Schools Beach Clean Up looked a little different this year, due to COVID. Usually we’d host one big clean up, but this year we had each school cleaning up different locations with health and safety in mind.

“This meant we were able to clean up eight different beaches along the coastline.

“All the litter has been counted and entered 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 each beach.

“This week, the learning has continued with the schools completing a Source Reduction Workshop, where students reflected on the data collected and discussed source reduction actions and solutions to some of our local marine debris issues.”

Upcoming council-run beach clean up events include Clean Up for the Hatchlings and Clean Up Australia Day. Council’s website will have full details including dates in coming months.

Groups nation-wide input their information into the AMDI database, recording the location, quantities and types of marine rubbish collected, to give an overview of the impact on beaches across the country.

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