OVER 120 volunteers from the Gold Coast picked-up 8977 pieces of rubbish – including an alarming 5700 cigarette butts – from Tallebudgera Creek Park on Sunday, February 3.
The clean-up was organised by local volunteers from Sea Shepherd Australia’s Marine Debris Campaign and was joined by volunteers of a local Stop Adani group.
Since 2016, Sea Shepherd Australia have organised over 400 beach clean-ups and picked-up 2.02 million pieces of marine debris – 80 per cent of it has been plastic.
Gold Coast Marine Debris Campaign Coordinator Grahame Lloyd was astounded at the amount of butts found at their beach clean-ups.
“We have arguably some of the best beaches in Australia here in the Gold Coast yet the same people who come to choose to enjoy these beaches seem to think it’s OK to mindlessly discard their cigarette butts. It’s not OK,” Grahame said.
Cigarette filters are predominantly made from cellulose acetate, which is a type of plastic that can take over a decade to decompose.
“Cigarette butts are by far the most collected item at all our beach clean-ups and have been labelled as the most littered item in the world,” Grahame added.
According to environmental researches cited by the Cigarette Butt Pollution Project, traces of this plastic have been found in approximately 70 per cent of seabirds and 30 percent of turtles.
Grahame would like to urge all smokers to dispose of their cigarette butts responsibly.
“Please dispose of your butts in a mindful manner by carrying a butt bin in your pocket, put it in a bin or butt it out in your car’s ashtray,” Grahame said.
“These butts contain many harmful toxic chemicals, heavy metals and human carcinogens, that then seep into our waterways and oceans and harm marine life,” Grahame added.
Other items the volunteers picked-up included: 888 items of food packaging, 66 metres of fishing line, 472 pieces of plastic film, 79 drink bottles, and 129 aluminium cans.
Grahame is also encouraging everyone to donate to Sea Shepherd Australia when they deposit their used containers throughout the state via Containers-for-Change. You can use the code: C10028177.
“The more money we receive the more beach and waterway clean-ups we can do, which will help improve the health of our oceans and waterways,” Grahame added.
Take direct action to defend the oceans and join our team at the next clean-up on Sunday, March 10 at Pratten Park, Broadbeach.
All Sea Shepherd Marine Debris events around the country can be found on their Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/SSAUBeachCleanUps/