Cooktown locals came together to collect 680kg of marine debris at this year’s North Shore beach clean up on Saturday (September 9). 43 volunteers cooperated to cover four kilometres of beachfront in the morning.
“We had a great day, the turn out was amazing and I’m really happy with the amount of rubbish we took off the beach,” South Cape York Catchments (SCYC) volunteer Natasha said.
SCYC CEO Jason Carroll said that although the amount of rubbish collected this time was less than the 1.5 to 2 tonnes average of previous years, there was still a long way to go.
“It’s a bit less than other years but still a lot of rubbish, so I wouldn’t say it’s better or worse. It just depends on the tides and the time of year but we got most of the rubbish that was on the beach,” he said.
Other than the usual culprits like plastics, pool noodles from the tourism industry and foreign bottles, a popular collectors’ item that hasn’t commonly washed up for decades was found on the clean up.
The glass buoy was once used by fisherman to keep fishing nets afloat, but have since been replaced by aluminum, plastic or styrofoam.
“A young boy named Woody Davidson found a miniature one. In the seventies and eighties they used to get these glass buoys washed up on the beach but people don’t see them anymore so that was super cool,” he said.
Mr Carroll said that the glass buoy was this year’s most interesting find.
“We always have a little competition to see who can find the most weird, lucky thing. There was a lot of stuff found but this one was pretty much it,” he said.
Also found on the clean up were six echo sounder satellite bouys to be used as part of a Tangaroa Blue Foundation project to remove abandoned fishing nets from the ocean.
Four out of six were re-activated and will be part of the world-first program to tag and track ghost nets in the Great Barrier Reef while retrieval teams are mobilised to remove them.
Mr Carroll and the SCYC team were grateful to the support of the community.
“This event in partnership with Tangaroa Blue wouldn’t happen each year without the support of the Gamaay Traditional Owners, Cooktown Queensland Parks and Wildlife, Riverbend Tours, Cape York Natural Resource Management and Cook Shire Council,” he said.
“A huge thank you to all the volunteers and the people that helped out, they worked hard picking up all that rubbish.”