This Sunday, a team of wonderful, community-minded locals will descend on Austinmer Beach for their monthly Beach Clean Up.
The group, a blend of Surfriders South Coast and Beach Clean Ups Illawarra will provide bags and sunscreen so volunteers help them collect the rubbish that washes up on one of the Illawarra’s most popular beaches.
Surfriders is a global organisation that’s been running in Australia for around 25 years. Part of the charter is to keep local beaches clean, the other part is to re-educate people about the hazards of single-use plastics.
“We usually collect between 40 and 50 kilos of plastic from each beach we clean,” says organiser and Surfriders spokesperson Suzie Crick. “It’s horrifying how much plastic is in our oceans, and it never really breaks down. It just gets smaller and smaller, so it enters the food chain lower down.”
Suzie says she’s happy to let everyone know what’s happening, in the hope they’ll change their behaviour.
Suzie says the problem is not just an Australian one. “In Bali, 30 million plastic water bottles are being thrown away every month, and the majority end up in the ocean. I am trying to make people aware of the problem, because education leads to change.
“I just want people to think about the plastic they’re using,” says Suzie. “Do you really need that straw? And do you have to buy water in a bottle when you can carry your own from home? I’d also encourage people to take their own coffee mug rather than using a Take Away cup. Every little bit helps.”
Suzie says she doesn’t know what the solution is to the oversupply of plastic in our lives, but is heartened by international projects currently underway. “There are countries in Scandinavia that are actually IMPORTING garbage because up-cycling and re-cycling have become such lucrative industries.
“Nev Hyman, the founder of Firewire Surfboards became so passionate about the damage surfers were doing to the ocean he started NevHouse Industries, turning waste plastic into building pallets that are used for housing in third world countries. There are people doing incredible things, but in the meantime, we have to keep plastic out of our oceans!”
Seems it’s not only the plastics on our beaches we need to worry about. For a complete overview of the plastics you can and can’t trust.. have a look HERE
The Austinmer Beach Clean Up gets underway at 5pm. Susie says you just need to bring gloves and a hat, and as many friends and family members as you can muster!