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App prevents penguins nesting in playground plastics


Primary school students from Batemans Bay are getting a first-hand look at how playground litter can impact little penguins living in the Clyde Estuary.

Year 4 students from Batemans Bay Public and St Bernard’s Primary Schools have been cleaning up at Surfside and Caseys Beaches. Council’s environmental project officer Lily Berry said students were surprised to find so much rubbish on the beach.

“The schools in Batemans Bay are lucky to be a short distance to the ocean but that also means that any rubbish dropped in the playground can easily end up in the Clyde Estuary,” Ms Berry said.

Bay Public School student Huon Norris is a weekend fisher at South Durras and said he regularly saw little penguins.

“The islands I've seen them on are Wasp Island, Grasshopper Island and Flat Rock. They are always around big bait balls and around South Durras they are very well fed,” he said.

However Ms Berry said this was the first time some of the students had even heard of little penguins in the area.

“The items we collected – things like plastic food packaging, bottles, cans and fishing line – is a threat to little penguins and other marine wildlife. We have seen this kind of plastic rubbish in the nests of the penguins on Snapper Island,” Ms Berry said.

“All up we removed more than 50 kilograms of rubbish, which was sorted and the data logged in Australian Marine Debris Initiative Database using the Tangaroa Blue app. This means the kids are helping find solutions and identify the source of commonly found items.

“It also brought home to them that the best way to help our wildlife is avoid single-use plastic to reduce rubbish getting into the environment in the first place and disposing of waste properly.”

Additional clean-ups with Sunshine Bay Public School and the Batemans Bay High School Student Environment Council are planned for the near future. For more information contact Lily Berry on lily.berry@esc.nsw.gov.au or visit https://www.esc.nsw.gov.au/living-in/natural-environment/get-help/marine-debris-working-group

Above: Batemans Bay Public School students at Surfside.


Above: St Bernard’s Primary School students at Caseys Beach.

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