Over 500 volunteers turn out to clean up Queensland's beaches and waterways

Monday, 04 Apr, 2022

Sea Shepherd's Waves of Change Project: stemming the tide of marine plastic pollution

Queensland's South-East coastline is famous all around the world for its turquoise waters and abundant marine life. However, it is not immune to the stranglehold of marine plastic pollution. 

Over 500 volunteers from Sea Shepherd Australia’s Marine Debris Campaign have taken action, providing immediate relief to marine life and documenting key findings of marine debris with our Waves of Change Project. 

The project that began in July 2021 has recently wrapped up after 13 beach and river clean-ups and 3 free community film screenings. 

Volunteers pictured at the Coolum Beach clean-up.

“The 'Waves of Change' program enabled us to remove over 1 tonne of trash, preventing this debris from entering the ocean and killing our much-loved marine life. It also enable us to increase public awareness about the threat of marine debris through a variety of events held from Coolangatta to Noosa Heads.”

- Waves of Change Project Leader, Grahame Lloyd

Here are some of the astonishing results from the project: 

Stats from the Waves of Change project: 

Number of participating volunteers: 647 (519 at clean-up events and a further 128 at film screenings). 

Pieces of trash removed: Over 40,000

Weight of trash removed: 1.1 tonnes

Bags collected: 142

Length of area cleaned: 3.3 km


The top 3 polluting items found during the clean-ups were:

- Cigarette butts

- Plastic film remnants

- Plastic food packaging

Take a look at our photo slideshow from the clean-up events:

Volunteers at the Alexandra Headland clean-up.
Over 500 volunteers turned out to the clean-up events.
Plastic straws found during the Coolum clean-up event.
Single-use masks found during the Coolum clean-up event.
The Brisbane film screening event of Untrashing Djulpan & Rubber Jellyfish.
Waves of Change Project Leader, Grahame Lloyd, pictured with discarded fishing gear found during the clean-ups.
Volunteers sorting and counting trash from the clean-up.
The project included a dive clean-up at The Spit on the Gold Coast where nearly 5kms of fishing line was removed.
Volunteers at The Spit clean-up were treated to a visit from an Australian Sea Lion.
A Waste-Free Workshop was held as part of the Gold Coast event.
The Robina film screening event drew a crowd of 31 people.

Sea Shepherd would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone involved with the Waves of Change project and to everyone that gave their time to take direct action on the beaches or rivers as well as attending the free screening events. 

The Waves of Change Project has received funding support from the Queensland Government’s Community Sustainability Action Grant program.

All the data and findings for every clean-up will be going back to the Government and will be uploaded to the Australian Marine Debris Database. 


"I would like to thank everyone who joined us at our 'Waves of Change' events. The support and feedback from the public has been heart-warming and adds to our drive and passion to continue to provide free clean-up events across Australia."

- Waves of Change Project Leader, Grahame Lloyd

You too can help stem the tide of plastic in the ocean by joining one of our family-friendly Marine Debris clean-ups near you.


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