Plastics in the ocean are broken up into continually smaller fragments over time, eventually being the size of grains of sand - however even such tiny particles can cause harm to the marine environment.

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We are lucky to also be involved in some interesting research that is being conducted relating to marine debris and its effects on the environment and marine life.

The Mackay Trash Rack Cleaning and Maintenance Project

The Mackay Trash Rack Cleaning and Maintenance Project is a marine debris prevention initiative headed by Eco Barge Clean Seas Inc. on behalf of the Mackay Regional Council. Gross Pollutant Traps (GPT’s) in the form of Ecosol Trash Rack Systems have been installed at four storm water drain sites in Ooralea, Mackay by Ecosol as part of the Mackay Regional Council's commitment to marine debris prevention. Eco Barge Clean Seas Inc. have been contracted to conduct the cleaning and maintenance of these trash rack systems as well as the anaylsis of the contents. 

The purpose of the project is to:

• Achieve an effective and managed clean up of 28 litter nets located across four trash racks in Ooralea, Mackay
• Identify common pollutant loads
• Compare pollutant loads with surrounding land uses
• Identify point sources of pollution for future reductions

Impacts of marine debris ingestion on sea turtles

Qamar Schuyler is a PhD student studying plastics in the sea to understand which types and colours of debris are primarily targeted by turtles. We have conducted manta trawl samples for Qamar while on transit to some of our target beaches. Qamar has also provided us with training on beach survey methodologies that are currently being used in a CSIRO nationwide debris monitoring program.

If you are interested in learning more about Qamar's research and results, click here for one of her 2012 research papers.

Marine debris removed from the
Whitsunday islands since July 2009
= 174,764 kilograms