With huge swells and strong southerly winds lashing the coast, evidence of a silent killer is washing up on Eurobodalla beaches.
It is estimated 18,000 pieces of plastic float in every square kilometre of ocean, having a devastating impact on the marine environment.
Now is the time to get out onto the high-tide line of Eurobodalla’s south-facing beaches and pick up debris that has washed ashore in the large swells. This will prevent it from re-entering the environment and threatening marine species.
Council’s Environmental Education Officer Bernadette Davis said there were 633 species worldwide, including 77 Australian species, impacted by marine debris.
“Around 70 per cent of the marine debris ends up on the sea bed with the rest floating on the water surface and washing up on our beaches,” she said.
“Picking up marine debris is a great activity for families to do over the holidays – you can make it a competition of who can find the most.
“Bingie, Tuross, South Broulee, Shark Bay, Barlings Beach, Guerilla Bay, Maloneys and Murramurang Beaches all either face south or have headlands that jut out and become a collection point for marine debris.
“Most of the debris washing up due to the current weather conditions has been in the southern ocean a long time, so it is mostly fragmented pieces of plastic. Other common marine debris is plastic food packaging remnants, foam packaging and fishing paraphernalia
“Because plastic is light it tends to get washed up then blown up to the high tide mark and beyond. If your local beach is covered in seaweed at the moment go and check it out because this is where the debris is washed up as well.”
Bernadette encouraged beach-goers to log their finds on the Australian Marine Debris database, which is used nationally for education and research. Find it at www.tangaroablue.org/database.html.
“Give the database a go, it’s very simple to do,” she said.
“If all we do is clean up, that is all we’ll ever do. The database allows us to track the marine debris back to the source and prevent it.
“And, remember, the most effective way to reduce marine debris is preventing it from entering the marine environment in the first place. Litter on the street or roadsides will find its way into the rivers and ocean where it can damage marine life and sea birds.”
For more information on Council’s Eurobodalla Marine Debris Working Group, or to get involved, visit www.esc.nsw.gov.au or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Above: Large swells and strong southerly winds lashing the coast are expected to wash up marine debris on Eurobodalla’s south-facing beaches this week. Pictured is the south-facing Barlings Beach on Tuesday.