In Australia, plastic waste including derelict fishing gear (net, line and rope) is one of the most harmful types of debris to marine wildlife.

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Whitsunday 2013 Clean Up

12th December 2013

Everyone's Environment Grants 
Linderman Island

We couldn't quite believe our luck with amazing weather this late in December, so we decided to make the most of it and make another journey down south to finish to the job of removing marine debris from Linderman Island. We had three beaches left to tackle and once again we were greatly aided by the piles of marine debris that were placed above the high tide line. Thank you again to the community for doing this for us! We had never targeted any of these beaches before and this was therefore a great way to finish 2013 - thank you so much to each of the volunteers that tolerated the extremely hot conditions to get all of these beaches clean. 

10 volunteers
266 kgs collected

11th December 2013

Everyone's Environment Grants - UNDERWATER DEBRIS 
Mackeral Bay, Hook Island

For our last dive trip of the year we wanted to try something a bit different, so we targeted one of the popular bays that does not actually have moorings, requiring us make an educated guess at where the boats would chose to anchor. Our divers all did an amazing job of covering a large area of the bay (although the beauty of this location gave the divers all the motivation they needed) but very little underwater marine debris was found - great news for such a spectacular part of the Whitsunday Islands. 

7 volunteer divers
25 kgs collected

5th December 2013

Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation 
Gumbrell Island and Georges Point

With the weather still pretty good we were also able to get to our Gumbrell Island hotspot location to again see how much rubbish had reappeared since it was last cleaned in September. It was a great pleasure to find only 79 kilograms on this beach, which highlights the impact our program is able to make when continuous trips are undertaken throughout the year. With plenty of time left in the day we then targeted Georges Point and thanks to the enthusiasm of all the volunteers we were able to remove marine debris from all four impacted beaches along this stretch of mainland, with another 282 kilograms being removed from this location. 

9 volunteers
361 kgs collected

4th December 2013

Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation 
Shaw Island and Plantation Bay, Linderman Island

We were very happy with the break in the weather that allowed us to head to our Shaw Island hotspot to see how much rubbish had accumulated on this beach since it was last cleaned in September. It was definitely the cleanest that we had ever seen this beach, with only 108 kilograms removed. However, as most of this was debris was made up of very small plastic pieces it was still a very tiring beach to clean. Our dedicated volunteers worked really quickly though, which meant we were also able to tackle some extra beaches on Linderman Island where we had received reports of large amounts of marine debris. We were again greatly assisted by the piles of debris that had been created above the high tide line - it allows us to clean the beaches much more quickly and really does highlight the pride and commitment of the community that are enjoying the beauty of these Bays.  

9 volunteers
265 kgs collected

30th November 2013

Reef Catchments 
Crayfish Bay and Chance Bay, Whitsunday Island

Our trip today was made possible by funding to Reef Catchments that is focused on reconnecting Traditional Owners to country, garnering traditional ecological knowledge and contributing to aspirations to guide projects within the region. It was a fantastic day out on the water with both Crayfish and Chance Bay being the focus of our marine debris removal efforts. Quite a bit of rubbish had accumulated in Crayfish Bay since our last visit, but an amazing member of the community had already piled all the debris above the high tide line and made our job much easier! A great day was had by all, and we hope to partner with Reef Catchments again in the future to undertake similar trips. This trip also provided data for our Everyone's Environment Grants project. 

12 volunteers
113 kgs collected

21st November 2013

BMC 
Mackeral Bay, Hook Island

With amazing weather we just needed to decide which stunning hotspot to clean, and Mackeral Bay certainly did not disappoint. It was earlier this year that we targeted Mackeral for the first time, with two trips being required to remove the accumulation of debris on all the beaches. Today though, with the help of our exceptionally hard-working volunteers, we were able to completely clean the entire bay! This was such a great outcome and shows how we are ultimately going to be able to move to the monitoring phase of the Whitsunday Marine Debris Removal Program. This trip also provided data for our Everyone's Environment Grants project. 

9 volunteers
305 kgs collected

14th November 2013

BMC 
South Molle and Long Islands

Today we headed to our final hotspot monitoring beaches on Long Island via one extra beach on South Molle Island that was not able to be reached on our trip last month due to the low tide. It was a shorter day out and our volunteers did a great job on all three beaches that were tackled. All monitoring trips have now been undertaken and we look forward to returning to each of the locations to see how much marine debris has accumulated on these beaches since they were last cleaned. This trip provided data for our Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation project. 

12 volunteers
142 kgs collected

31st October 2013

Everyone's Environment Grants - PROSERPINE HIGH SCHOOL 
Grimston Point

It was again a great pleasure to take a group of year 12 Marine Education students from Proserpine High School out to remove marine debris. We firstly returned to one of the beaches that had been targeted on their last trip to allow the students to see how much rubbish had accumulated in the 43 days since it had last been cleaned. A staggering 245 kilograms was collected, although much of this was large and extremely heavy boat pieces. Two additional beaches were then cleaned, with these fantastic students now being responsible for the removal of 1003 kilograms of marine debris across the two trips. This is such a fantastic effort and we look forward to working further with Proserpine High School in the future.

13 volunteers
614 kgs collected

24th October 2013

BMC 
Hazelwood Island

The variable winds, high tide and speed of Nunga allowed us to easily tackle the next one of our new hotspot locations for the Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation project. The first two beaches actually contained very little marine debris, which was an unexpected (but positive) surprise. The third beach was only a small cove with quite a bit of rubbish for its size. However, the jackpot (in terms of our kilo count) was the fourth beach, which was covered in marine debris! Thank you to the great work of our volunteers throughout the day and we shall return to the last two beaches in a couple of months to monitor how much marine debris has returned. This trip provided data for our Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation project. 

10 volunteers
242 kgs collected

14th October 2013

BMC 
South Molle and North Molle Islands

The wind had picked up much more than was originally forecast and so it was lucky that our third monitoring hotspot was on South Molle Island. We removed 111 kilograms from two beaches before the low tide made it impossible to access anymore of these beaches. We therefore continued on to North Molle and our tireless volunteers removed another 112 kgs of marine debris from the 1.6 km stretch of beach. The conditions were hot, and the northerly wind relentless so it was an amazing effort by all involved and the wet and wild ride home was definitely one to remember!! This trip also provided data for our Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation project. 

12 volunteers
223 kgs collected

10th October 2013

BMC - UNDERWATER DEBRIS 
Stonehaven (south)

Due to the amount of marine debris found we decided to return to the southern moorings at Stonehaven to see what other rubbish we could find. However, it appears as though most of the debris was removed during the first trip with our divers only finding 79 pieces of various rubbish, with the majority of the weight being a large piece of broken spinnaker mast. The most abundant items at this location were again fishing line and torn aluminium cans, suggesting the incidence of fishing in this bay is the contributing factor to most of the marine debris. This trip provided underwater data for our Everyone's Environment Grants project. 

8 volunteer divers
70 kgs collected

18th September 2013

Everyone's Environment Grants - PROSERPINE HIGH SCHOOL 
Grimston Point 

It was fantastic to take a group of year 12 Marine Education students from Proserpine High School on a marine debris removal trip today, with this trip being funded by our project from Everyone's Environment Grant to enable students to also assist in "cleaning up our backyards". Due to the travel time to and from Proserpine, it was a much shorter day than usual, but the students were incredibly enthusiastic and quickly got to work removing a large amount of marine debris, much of it boat pieces and other big items. It was a great day out on the water and we are looking forward to being able to take this school group out on another trip next month.

10 volunteers
389 kgs collected

15th September 2013

Everyone's Environment Grant - UNDERWATER DEBRIS
Butterfly Bay (east)

The weather was still amazing so we decided to return to Butterfly Bay to remove more underwater marine debris from around the moorings, this time in the east part of the bay. Surprisingly there was much less debris to be found in this section of the bay, with drinks containers (9 beer stubbies, 8 aluminium cans and 4 soft drink bottles) being the most abundant rubbish found. 

6 volunteer divers
21 kgs collected

11th September 2013

BMC
Shaw Island and Linderman Island

The second new monitoring location was Shaw Island, with the variable winds making conditions ideal to travel the long distance to this southern island. The length of the beach made the conditions quite exhausting, especially with the lack of wind making it incredibly hot on the beach. The volunteers did a fantastic job removing 237 kgs before we headed to a beautiful sandy beach on Linderman Island for lunch. Our lunch stops are always intended as a reward for our volunteers after all their efforts, however, we unfortunately chose a beach that contained marine debris. Our tireless volunteers could not help themselves, and now this beach is even more beautiful with 94 kgs of debris removed. This trip provided data for our Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation project. 

10 volunteers
331 kgs collected

10th September 2013 

BMC 
Gumbrell Island, Rattray Island and Armit Island 

Today was the first monitoring trip for our new project for the Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation, where we will be undertaking monitoring trips to five new hotspot locations (as was done for Caring for our Country) to again determine the rate of returning marine debris. We will be able to compare these returning rates with those of the five previous monitoring locations to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the incidence of marine debris across the Whitsunday region. Our first monitoring location was Gumbrell Island, which contains one long rocky beach, and our volunteers did an amazing job removing 167 kgs of marine debris. A quick clean of Rattray and Armit Islands was also undertaken, both of which had only minimal marine debris. This trip also provided data for our Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation project. 

11 volunteers
228 kgs collected

13th August 2013 

Everyone's Environment Grants
Cape Conway 

The perfect weather today allowed us to go south to Cape Conway, a location that had never been the target of a marine debris removal trip. As is often the case for new target locations the debris consisted mainly of larger plastic pieces, with lots of industrial-related rubbish being found. A drift card was also found that had been released from the Mackay Shipping Channel earlier in the year, showing how rubbish entering the waterways further south can potentially make their way into the Whitsunday region.
 
11 volunteers
422 kgs collected

9th August 2013

Everyone's Environment Grants - UNDERWATER DEBRIS
South Molle Jetty 

The weather was a little unfavourable, so we decided that we would not travel too far for this dive trip and instead focused on the area surrounding the jetty at South Molle Island. The type of marine debris found was very different to what was being recovered at the anchorages, with four car tyres and other various industrial-related rubbish, but minimal fishing-related marine debris being removed. Lots of the items were quite heavy, making this the most kilograms of underwater marine debris that have been collected to date.

8 volunteer divers
188 kgs collected

8th August 2013 

Everyone's Environment Grants
Hamilton Island and Whitsunday Island 

We had been focusing lots of attention on specific beaches in Driftwood Bay, Hamilton Island for the Caring for our Country project, but there are many other beaches within this bay that are also requiring attention. Our trip today therefore focused on one such beach next to the airport, with 286 kilograms of heavy and light plastic pieces being removed from this beach. The volunteers worked tirelessly, but were unable to remove all the marine debris, meaning we will need to go back to this location soon. The well-deserved lunch was provided on a sandy beach within Turtle Bay, Whitsunday Island, with another 10 kgs of marine debris being removed by our fantastic volunteers once they noticed that this beautiful beach was also impacted by debris.
 
12 volunteers
296 kgs collected

7th August 2013 

Reef Catchments Public Fund and Charter Yachts Australia
Gumbrell Island, George's Point and Gloucester Island 

With the last two beaches on Gloucester still needing to be cleaned, we headed north again today. Our first stop was Grumbrell where we found approximately 80 kgs of plastic items scattered along the tide line. We collected a similar amount of marine debris from two smaller stony bays at George's Point, including multiple plastic crates, 50 gal drums and boat fragments, with Gloucester then being our last target location for the day. The last two beaches were significantly less impacted than those we had encountered on previous trips, but our fantastic volunteers still managed to fill the barge by removing another 80 kgs of debris.
 
8 volunteers
246 kgs collected

6th August 2013 

Reef Catchments Public Fund and KUFFS
Rattray Island and Gloucester Island

We headed out today with aim of cleaning the last three impacted beaches on Gloucester Island. The first stop was Rattray Island, with only minimal common plastic items collected, including toothbrushes, lighters, and oil containers. We then began to tackle the first beach on Gloucester, which was found to be highly impacted by marine debris. Our smaller team of volunteers worked hard, but it took the rest of the day to removed the 239 kgs of marine debris from this beach, with the debris consisting mainly of medium sized plastic fragments and a number of shoes and thongs. Our amazing volunteers were then treated to whale encounters on the journey home!
 
6 volunteers
244 kgs collected

4th August 2013 

Reef Catchments Public Fund and BMC
Grimston Point and Gloucester Island 

With another picture perfect day we decided to undertake the second official ‘double run’ for Eco Barge Clean Seas. The team on Eco Barge consisted of 12 volunteers, including some Reef Catchment staff, with Grimston Point being the target location, while the 9 volunteers on Nunga focused on removing marine debris from Gloucester Island. The competition between the two teams was strong, with the hard-working team on Nunga removing 528 kgs of marine debris from almost half of the eastern coastline of Gloucester. However, the large number of boat pieces found in the tidal inlet at Grimston Point and a 10 metre yacht mast (which was towed home behind the barge) helped to get the Eco Barge team over the line with 602 kgs. A fantastic effort by everyone that was involved!!
 
21 volunteers
1,140 kgs collected

3rd August 2013

Everyone's Environment Grants - UNDERWATER DEBRIS
Butterfly Bay (west)

After a couple of post-poned trips due to the weather, we finally undertook our next underwater marine debris removal trip, focusing on another popular anchorage at Hook Island. The divers worked hard and removed a huge haul, including a deck chair, fishing rods, clothing and boat hooks. We will need to return to this Bay at a later date to target the remaining four moorings.

8 volunteer divers
91 kgs collected 

19th June 2013

Everyone's Environment Grants - UNDERWATER DEBRIS
Stonehaven (south) 

We were only able to clean around the moorings at the northern section of Stonehaven on our last trip, so we decided to return and see what we could find in the southern Bay. And it was a good thing that we did, because the area surrounding these five moorings were trashed with marine debris, with our divers continually returning to the surface to empty their bags before descending again to collect more debris. Lots of fishing line, beer bottles, snorkels and masks were found, with a solar panel being the most interesting item found at the bottom of the sea to date!

8 volunteer divers
137 kgs collected

18th June 2013

Reef Catchments 
Gloucester Island

With another picture perfect day we decided to head to Gloucester Island, as it had almost been one year since we had last targeted these beaches. Our enthusiastic and fast working volunteers allowed us to clean five beaches, but this is was only about one third of the southern coastline, with the amount of marine debris unfortunately getting worse with every beach that we cleaned. This trip provided data for our Everyone's Environment Grants project. 

9 volunteers
429 kgs collected

17th June 2013 

Reef Catchments
Solace Bay and Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island and Dumbell Island 

It was with great excitement that we headed out today to collect our 100,000th kilogram of marine debris! We really wanted to get back to Solace Bay on Whitsunday Island, but the low tides permitted entry into only one of the bays. We therefore proceeded to Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet, which to our pleasure was quite clean with only 25 kilograms of marine debris being removed. We then moved on to Dumbell Island, a location that had never previously been targeted by a marine debris removal trip and cleaned two highly impacted south-east facing bays. Thank you as always to our amazing sponsor and the volunteers who were involved.... 100,000 kilos and counting!!!

10 volunteers
199 kgs collected

13th June 2013 

Reef Catchments
Mackeral Bay, Hook Island 

The winds finally dropped down, allowing us to get back out on the water, and we celebrated by returning to Mackeral Bay. We had targeted this Bay for the first time, as had many charter boat companies, during Operation Clean Seas in April and we were pleased to find that the remaining beaches were not too impacted. However, one huge piece of rope really did test the strength and commitment of our volunteers, with this rope accounting for over half of the weight of this collection. Another beautiful day on the water, and a huge thank you to all the volunteers who participated!

11 volunteers
465 kgs collected

23rd May 2013 

Everyone's Environment Grants - UNDERWATER DEBRIS
Stonehaven (north)

Our target location for our second dive trip was Stonehaven, and being a yellow zone we suspected that we may find a bit more underwater marine debris than our previous trip. Our suspicions were correct, with our enthusiastic divers finding almost 10 times as much rubbish, including 6 mooring hooks, 17 glass bottles, an anchor and a huge amount of fishing line. It was another great day on and underneath the water, and we look forward to running our next dive trip in June.

7 volunteer divers
37 kgs collected

16th May 2013

Everyone's Environment Grants
Long Island

The morning showers kept a few volunteers away, so it was only a small group of us that headed to Long Island today. Many of the beaches of Long Island had been targeted during Operation Clean Seas, however, we knew there were a few beaches along the north-east point that still needed to be cleaned. Not having the numbers definitely made it a difficult day on these long beaches, but the volunteers were unstoppable with lots of large items being found - and a substantial weight of marine debris removed.

4 volunteers
234 kgs collected

15th May 2013

Everyone's Environment Grants
Crayfish Bay and Chance Bay, Whitsunday Island

This trip filled up in only a few hours, and while the rain clouds looked a little ominous they did not dampen the spirits of our enthusiastic volunteers. After Operation Clean Seas we have found ourselves in the amazing position of having removed marine debris from all of our best known locations, so we today we set out to explore some of the bays and beaches that have never been the target of a marine debris removal trip. Our first stop was Crayfish Bay to finish cleaning the rest of the debris after the toxic canister had been removed. We then had a look in Chance Bay, where we found one beach that was collecting a lot of marine debris, before hitting the jackpot of rubbish in an un-named bay inside Solway Passage. This beautiful bay was so impacted by marine debris that we will definitely have to return to this location soon.

11 volunteers
428 kgs collected

25th April 2013

Caring for our Country - OPERATION CLEAN SEAS
North Molle, South Molle and Long Islands

After so many days of beautiful weather the winds were starting to increase so we decided not to travel too far and focus on the Molle Group and Long Island. Relatively little marine debris was found on North and South Molle Islands, especially after the clean-up last week. However, there was still a lot of coastline to cover on Long Island though with the majority of marine debris today found on the beach opposite the Long Island Resort. And it was fantastic to have amazing holiday-makers give up 30 minutes of their holiday to assist our volunteers in removing debris from this stretch of beach!

11 volunteers
263 kgs collected

24th April 2013

Everyone's Environment Grants - UNDERWATER DEBRIS
Blue Pearl Bay, Hayman Island

It was with great excitement that we undertook our first dive trip to Blue Pearl Bay to see what underwater marine debris might be found at this extremely popular anchorage. Our volunteer divers all had a great time underwater, however they returned with very little marine debris, which is a fantastic result as it suggests the care that everyone is taking while enjoying Blue Pearl Bay to ensure that minimal rubbish falls off their boats and into the marine envrionment. The top offenders were fishing line, sinkers, pegs, snorkels and various cutlery and crockery. 

7 volunteer divers
4 kgs collected

24th April 2013

Caring for our Country - OPERATION CLEAN SEAS
Mackeral Bay, Hook Island

It was with great excitement that we made our first ever trip to Mackeral Bay today. We had received many reports from the community that the beaches in this area are highly impacted by marine debris, and even though some of the community had already started to tackle Mackeral Bay through Operation Clean Seas, most of the beaches were still inundated with marine debris. Our volunteers quickly got busy removing marine debris from four of the beaches, however, with at least four more beaches requiring our attention, we hope to return to this location again soon.

8 volunteers
245 kgs collected

23rd April 2013

Caring for our Country - OPERATION CLEAN SEAS
Torres Herald and Crayfish Bay, Whitsunday Island

Our monitoring trips in Turtle Bay have only been focusing on four beaches along the left hand side of Torress Herald Bay, but we had been receiving lots of reports that the neighbouring Crayfish Bay was also extremely impacted by marine debris. We therefore leap-frogged our way along the southern bays of Whitsunday Island, with our brilliant volunteers cleaning five beaches.

7 volunteers
350 kgs collected

22nd April 2013

Caring for our Country - OPERATION CLEAN SEAS
Grassy Island and George Point

Continuing our mission to get to as many islands as possible during Operation Clean Seas, we travelled to Grassy Island today and then once we had finished we returned to George Point to continue working on the many beaches that line this part of the mainland coast. It was an extremely hot day, and our volunteers did an amazing job, especially on the extremely long beaches of Grassy Island. Special thanks must again be given to Queensland Park and Wildlife for sending two staff members out to assist us with our clean-up.

8 volunteers
433 kgs collected

21st April 2013

Caring for our Country - OPERATION CLEAN SEAS
Rattray Island and George Point

We decided to head north again today, and despite its position at the top of the Whitsunday Passage, Rattray Island was found to have very little marine debris. Two drift cards were found here though, one from Airlie Beach and the other from Hamilton Island, which makes it even more curious why so little debris was present. After completely cleaning Rattray, our next destination was George Point, a mainland destination that we have previously never cleaned. We did not find any drift cards, but we found the beaches absolutely covered in marine debris. We are definitely going to have to focus some more attention on George Point in the future.

8 volunteers
304 kgs collected

20th April 2013

Caring for our Country - OPERATION CLEAN SEAS
Maher and Mansell Islands

The variable winds today allowed us to get all the way down to Maher and Mansell Islands. The Linderman Group of islands are all known to be highly impacted by marine debris, however, the weather conditions need to be perfect for us to target these beaches. With a boat full of volunteers keen to make the most of the amazing weather we were able to remove all the marine debris from the south-east facing beaches on both islands, but we hope it is not too long before we can return to this part of the Whitsundays and remove more of the accumulation of marine debris that is impacting these beaches.

12 volunteers
391 kgs collected

19th April 2013

Caring for our Country 
Border, Hazelwood and Teague Islands

Today we headed out on our very last monitoring trip to the Border Island hotspot. Unfortunately the low tide meant we were unable to go back to the small bay that we cleaned on the last trip. However, we successfully cleaned our actual hotspot beach in under an hour, removing only 63 kilograms of marine debris, which is much less than our two previous trips. We then departed on an exploratory mission to Hazelwood and the surrounding islands, where we have not focused much attention in the past. We cleaned two beaches in White Bay, Hazelwood Island, before tackling one last beach on Teague Island - removing another 203 kilograms between them.

10 volunteers
269 kgs collected

18th April 2013

Caring for our Country - OPERATION CLEAN SEAS
Pine and Long Islands

Needing to make the most of the continued amazing weather we headed out again today, this time to Pine and Long Islands. It was great news to find very little rubbish on Pine Island, but the southern beaches on Long Island were a completely different story. Items of interest included a waterproof registration tag from the 2012 Mooloolahba Marathon and a crate labeled from the Sydney Fish Market.

9 volunteers
475 kgs collected

17th April 2013

Caring for our Country
Grimston Point, Armit and Little Armit Islands

Due to the bad weather in March we still had two monitoring trips to complete for our research, so today we headed to the Grimston Point hotspot location for our second and last monitoring trip. Again, the results of us returning to this hotspot location were obvious, with much less rubbish being found. However, the volunteers still managed to remove 260 kilograms from the two beaches, with the majority of weight being due to the large number of boat pieces that were found. Our amazing volunteers cleaned these beaches in record time, meaning that we were then able to target Armit and Little Armit Islands as well. Five drift cards were found throughout the day - one on Grimston, two on Armit and two on Little Armit, with all these cards having been released from Airlie Beach.

10 volunteers
327 kgs collected

16th April 2013

Caring for our Country - OPERATION CLEAN SEAS
South Molle

With nothing but good weather on the horizon we headed out for another Operation Clean Seas trip, this time to focus on the southern beaches of South Molle. South Molle has received a lot of attention over the years, and so relatively little marine debris was collected when we targeted these beaches in August last year. This was not the case today though, with large amounts of really heavy debris that may have been related to the floods early this year. Among the debris was a large plastic water tank that was split in two, a massive sheet of plastic and the lid of a wheelie bin with a Bunderberg label. It was only through the sheer determination of the volunteers that these beaches were cleared of marine debris, with a drift card released from Hamilton Island also being found.

8 volunteers
550 kgs collected

15th April 2013

Caring for our Country - OPERATION CLEAN SEAS
Gumbrell Island

After the terrible weather of the first couple of weeks of April we were very relieved that the winds died down and we were finally able to undertake our first barge trip for Operation Clean Seas. Our goal during April was to target as many islands as possible, so we decided to start with Gumbrell Island as it had been almost eight months since we last cleaned these beaches. Gumbrell is a very tough location, with long rocky beaches, and our volunteers did an outstanding job removing lots of heavy pieces of debris. We also found a drift card that had been released from Airlie Beach. Special thanks must also be given to Queensland Park and Wildlife for sending two staff members out to assist us with our clean-up.

7 volunteers
278 kgs collected

2nd April 2013

Caring for our Country 
Turtle Bay, Whitsunday Island

Continued good weather allowed us to head out for another monitoring trip to our Turtle Bay hotspot location. Turtle Bay has been the target of many clean ups over the years, however, it is only through these monitoring trips that we have been able to get on top of the amount of marine debris that accumulates in this bay. Regularly returning to the same beaches has resulted in the clean ups not being so daunting and after removing 78 kilograms from the four hotspot beaches we were able to tackle a fifth beach and remove another 156 kilograms. Given that it had only been 81 days since our last trip though, the marine debris was accumulating at about 1 kilogram per day, which shows the importance of undertaking these constant and on-going marine debris removal trips.

11 volunteers
234 kgs collected

1st April 2013

Caring for our Country 
Saba bay, Hook Island

The winds in March just would not die down, meaning it took us a little longer than desired to get back to Saba Bay to finish the job of cleaning these beaches (after having to leave the beach in February due to finding a toxic canister). We were unsure what we would find with 'Heartbreak Beach' again living up to its name, being covered in marine debris. Our second beach for this hotspot was not too bad though, especially considering that 119 days had past since it was last cleaned. Combined with the kilograms collected in February, the Saba Bay hotspot had accumulated 265 kilograms in just under three months, which equates to 2.2 kilograms per day... less than last time but still a concerning amount of marine debris!!

10 volunteers
217 kgs collected

15th March 2013

BMC
Grimston Point, Mainland 

BMC has become a partner of Eco Barge in 2013 to support the Whitsunday Marine Debris Removal Program in providing protection for local marine life and the aquatic environment. As part of this partnership, BMC wanted their newest team members to have the opportunity to be actively involved in removing marine debris. The BMC graduates came from across Australia, and a diversity of backgrounds, so Eco Barge utilised the services of Jacquie Sheils, a marine biologist from Eco Crew, to provide her expertise about the iconic marine life and environment of the Whitsunday region. Thankfully the winds decreased enough to provide a lovely day on the water, with 18 pairs of hands making incredibly quick work of removing marine debris from this location.

18 volunteers
385 kgs collected

23rd February 2013

Caring for our Country 
Saba bay, Hook Island and Driftwood Bay, Hamilton Island

Today was the first of our second monitoring trips - heading back to our hotspot locations once again to see what marine debris had returned since we last cleaned these beaches. Our target location today was Saba Bay and with the bad weather earlier in the month, 82 days had past since our last clean-up. And to our dismay the beaches were once again highly impacted by marine debris!! Our volunteers quickly got to work and had removed 59 kgs before we unfortunately located one of the toxic canisters that are being found along the Qld and NSW coastline, forcing us to leave the beach. We therefore decided to head to Driftwood Bay, another one of our hotspot locations on Hamilton Island. This time we were greeted with relatively clean beaches, with only 13 kgs having returned on the two beaches over the past 62 days. The data that we are collecting for the Caring for our Country project is therefore going to be incredibly interesting with some beaches obviously more at risk from returning marine debris than others. A big thanks to our volunteers for joining us on this adventure-filled day!!

6 volunteers
72 kgs collected

8th February 2013

Maritime Safety Queensland 
ex-tropical Cyclone Oswald clean-up

The focus of the clean-up was the wreckage surrounding Venus, along the rock wall near Sorrento Restaurant and Bar at Abel Point Marina. Five Eco Barge volunteers participated in the clean-up, with many pieces of debris also being removed from the water as they were floating away from the foreshore. This highlights the importance of the fast response time that was necessary to remove this boat debris before it was washed back out to sea, and Eco Barge would sincerely like to thank the Whitsunday Regional Council, Maritime Safety Queensland, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and all the volunteers from the community that responded so quickly and allowed as much debris as possible to be removed, contributing to the protection of our marine environment from the negative impacts from this debris. 

5 volunteers
2,600 kgs collected

1st February 2013

Maritime Safety Queensland 
ex-tropical Cyclone Oswald clean-up

The focus of this clean-up was the rock walls surrounding Port of Airlie and the mangroves in Muddy Bay. Five Eco Barge volunteers participated in the clean-up, with all debris and wreckage from these areas being removed, except for some items that our volunteers were unable to move from under rocks that must have repositioned during the storm.  

5 volunteers
1,500 kgs collected

31st January 2013

Whitsunday Regional Council 
ex-tropical Cyclone Oswald clean-up

The focus of this clean-up was the beach and underneath the boardwalk near Coral Seas Resort (up until the wreckage of Venus) and the remainder of the Abel Point Marina rock walls. Seven Eco Barge volunteers participated in the clean-up, with two staff from Queensland Parks and Wildlife also joining us for the day.

9 volunteers
3,000 kgs collected

30th January 2013

Whitsunday Regional Council 
ex-tropical Cyclone Oswald clean-up

The focus of this clean-up was underneath the boardwalk near VMR, as well as the rock walls at Shingley Beach and Abel Point Marina. Five Eco Barge volunteers participated, with four staff from the Whitsunday Regional Council also assisting.

9 volunteers
2,000 kgs collected

19th January 2013

Caring for our Country 
Border Island

Today was the last of our first round of monitoring trips, with 71 days passing since our last trip to Border Island. We only have one hotspot location on Border Island, and we were again amazed to collect 114 kilograms of debris, which averages out as 1.6 kilograms of marine debris returning to this beach each day!! While we only had the one hotspot location there was also another small bay that was known to be highly impacted by marine debris, but the tide did not allow us to access this beach during our first trip. We were able to tackle this little beach today, collecting another 111 kilograms.

10 volunteers
225 kgs collected

14th January 2013

Caring for our Country 
Grimston Point, Mainland

Our fantastic volunteers really were up against the elements today with the extreme heat and the thousands of march flies that descended on us as we returned to Grimston Point for our next Caring for our Country monitoring trip. We returned to the two hotspot beaches that we had previously cleaned and while there was definitely less rubbish than the first trip we were amazed by how much rubbish had washed up in only 73 days, with 185 kgs being removed. We still had room on the barge and our brilliant volunteers with still enthusiastic so we continued to another bay further up the point and removed another 186 kgs of marine debris.

13 volunteers
370 kgs collected

10th January 2013

Caring for our Country 
Turtle Bay, Whitsunday Island

We started the year with another Caring for our Country monitoring trip. It had been 70 days since we cleaned the four hotspot beaches in Turtle Bay and we were very curious to see what we would find. There was less marine debris than there had been on our first trip, however, 'Back-Break Beach' stayed true to its name being absolutely covered in small plastic. With the largest pieces of marine debris being a bucket and a plant pot - our kilo count really does not provide a good indication of the work put in by our volunteers, with many thousands of tiny pieces of plastic being removed from these beaches.

12 volunteers
115 kgs collected













































































































Marine debris removed from the
Whitsunday islands since July 2009
= 153,152 kilograms