What does one tonne of marine debris look like? And how can that much waste be found on just 5 km of pristine-looking beach alongside the Great Barrier Reef?
The dedicated volunteers and staff who took part in the Curtis Island Clean Up on the weekend of October 25-27 saw first-hand just how significant a problem marine debris is in the beaches and islands adjoining the Reef, where white sand and blue waters can hide deadly microplastics and dangerous rope tangles, hazardous to wildlife and people.
Held as part of the ReefClean program, in partnership with Tangaroa Blue Foundation, the Curtis Island Clean Up event successfully removed 985 kgs – just 15 kg short of a tonne – of marine debris from 3 locations on the island. 35 staff and volunteers from 9 key stakeholder organisations and communities helped remove plastic, metal, rope, netting and non-natural timber items from along 5km of coastline at Pelican Banks, Joey Lees and Stone Hut beaches.
9, 715 individual items were sorted and counted and added to the Australia Marine Debris Initiative Database. Microplastics – pictured at right – are a serious threat to wildlife, with birds and marine animals often mistaking them for food.
The Curtis Island Clean Up was achieved through people and organisations working together to make a real difference to the health of their local environment and the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem.
Curtis Island Clean Up Partnerships
- Tangaroa Blue Foundation
- Gladstone Local Marine Advisory Committee
- Gladstone Regional Council
- Fitzroy Basin Association Inc.
- Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service
- Gidarjil Development Corporation
- Shell QGC
- Central Queensland University
Curtis Island South End community – A huge thank you to the dedicated local South End community for joining in and bringing a ute!
Local business who supported the Clean Up by providing goods and services
ReefClean is funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and delivered by Tangaroa Blue Foundation and Conservation Volunteers Australia. The Curtis Island Clean Up is supported by Fitzroy Basin Association Inc, through funding from both the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and Shell’s QGC LNG plant on Curtis Island.