Wild South West
June 1, 2011
Back in February, Coastalwatch caught up with Jimmy Dell of Coastal Custodians as he prepared to embark on a mission to clean the remote beaches of the Tasmanian coast. The South West Marine Debris Cleanup is an annual trip orchestrated by Environmental Scientist Matt Dell to the remote wilderness of Tasmania, where tonnes of rubbish can be found on the beaches of this pristine and isolated environment. This trip Patagonia surfer Johnny Abegg came along to help tell the story.
This is his story.
The 2011 South West Coast Marine Debris Cleanup saw 23 volunteers embark to the West Coast of Tasmania on four commercial fishing vessels, the biggest contingent in the cleanup's history.
In total 18,357 items were collected off six beaches totalling around 3.5 tonnes. In material terms 93% of the rubbish was plastic comprised mainly of rope, bottles and miscellaneous plastic pieces and 4.5% was metal mainly as aluminium cans. Small pieces of plastic, caps and lids continue to be found in increased numbers and these along with small pieces of rope and bait box straps accounted for over 70% of the rubbish items collected.
The team recovered a staggering 11,317 items in just five hours off 1.5 kilometre length of coast, the vast majority off a 200m long stretch of beach. This is by far the largest haul of items from any one area of the coast and it was only after a tip off from one of the volunteer Crayboat skippers that we uncovered this wilderness tip-face.
This year we finally recovered 'temples de rope' - three huge rope balls between 200-400 kg each that we had observed over the last few years. Aptly named by the crew as all we could do was look at them in awe due to their size. This trip, the balls were finally moved as we had access to more people power and a boat with a Hiab to lift them from the water.
The more unusual items found on the shore this year included a Fridge, a Boogie Board, a cold full can of beer and an assortment of toys including a still inflated party balloon. Once again there was rubbish from all corners of the globe including numerous Japanese, Chinese and Korean oil and food containers, fishing buoys and trawl nets.
The cleanup has now been running for over ten years and we are looking forward to another successful cleanup in 2012.
For more information on the project and to support the mission head to the South-West Marine Debris Cleanup blog.
See what Johnny Abegg has been shooting.
For more Environmental News click here.
The team would like to thank...
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