Report on Macquarie Harbour Clean-up Project released


The Cradle Coast Authority NRM team has produced a report detailing the outcomes of a two-year project to remove marine debris from Macquarie Harbour and nearby beaches.

During the two 5-day clean-ups in 2017 and 2018, more than 11 tonnes of debris was removed. That is equivalent to around 120 cubic metres, and more than 60,000 pieces; 80% of the debris was made of plastic.

The report, which is available on the Cradle Coast Authority NRM website, looks at the rubbish hot-spots around the Harbour, as well as discussing likely sources of the pollution, and possible mitigation measures.   

The 2018 clean-up saw double the number of volunteers clean up rubbish from twice as many shorelines, showing the West Coast community has a strong interest in improving their local environment.
The five-day clean-up was made possible with the help of 168 volunteers and staff deployed to the clean-up from 13 organisations. 

This year the participation rate was doubled with new organisations, King River Rafting and the Strahan Primary School involved, as well as an increase in volunteers and businesses.

Like last year’s inaugural clean-up, the state’s aquaculture farms (Petuna, Tassal and Huon Aquaculture), who all have a strong presence on the West Coast, were keen participants.
The three aquaculture companies will continue their focus on improving the Harbour’s health. 

“The aquaculture farms have extended their allocated adopt-a-shoreline areas, and have committed to undertaking regular quarterly clean-ups,” Cradle Coast Authority NRM’s Coastal Coordinator Anna Wind said.

 “There is a 1300 number (1300 706 973) community members can call to report marine debris, and the aquaculture companies are training staff on further waste mitigation measures. 

“This has been a positive outcome of NRM, the community and industry working together to reduce marine debris and develop ways to stop marine debris entering the harbour.”

While 19% of the debris collected originated from commercial sources, around 40% had a domestic or recreational origin. For example, 5170 drink containers (bottles and cans) were found across the 36 sites cleaned in 2018. 
More tyres were collected than last year, with the help of King River Rafting who battled the white water to retrieve rubbish. The tyres were recycled by TyreCycle at Bridgewater.

 “There are multiple sources of pollution from within the harbour with littering, commercial operations (aquaculture and fishing) and historical waste being the major sources,” Mrs Wind said. 

“The largest amount of debris was found at the King River and delta and the East Coast of the Harbour (King Point to Braddon River).

A large amount of rope was collected again with more than 1,000 kg picked up from new and previously cleaned areas and upcycled or recycled. 

“Clean-up crews commented that the shorelines cleaned last year had a lot less rubbish this time, so that’s a positive outcome,” Mrs Wind said.

 The Cradle Coast Authority’s NRM team hopes to be able to support and assist the aquaculture industry in a clean-up next year, to keep the iconic Macquarie Harbour clean for visitors and locals to enjoy.

“Littering is obviously still a major problem and while NRM has supported numerous education campaigns with youth, we need to continue to raise awareness within the West Coast community,” Mrs Wind said.
“Every action has a reaction and bottles and cans don’t just disappear by throwing them away – they end up in a waterway or into the harbour or out to sea.”

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