Plastics are the most common man-made objects sighted at sea, with it estimated that six million tonnes of debris enters the world's oceans every year - the weight equivalent of a million elephants!

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Whitsunday 2015 Clean Up

12th December 2015

Everyone's Environment Grants
South Molle Island, Whitsunday Island

We had a quick stop at South Molle Island on our way to Whitsunday Island to collect some debris spotted from the boat. Numerous small rocky beaches were cleaned on Whitsunday Island (8 in total). We also found some bags of debris collected by island visitors which were piled at the top of the beach.

11 volunteers
435 kgs collected

11th December 2015

Reef Catchments
Cape Conway - Repulse Bay

As we were unable to finish the beach at Cape Conway yesterday, we returned there today to finish it off and tackle another beach too. All the bays seem to be full of debris, and it didn't take long to fill the barge again. It was amazing to see the difference from before and after! Great work by all the volunteers!

9 volunteers
527 kgs collected

10th December 2015

Cruise Whitsundays
Cape Conway - Repulse Bay

This was Eco Barges 200th trip since the start of the Whitsunday Marine Debris Removal Program in July 2009. Great weather conditions allowed us to head south to Cape Conway. Arriving at the first beach we realised we were in for a big day! The beach was filthy, everywhere you looked there were plastic fragments and larger items. It was clear that the debris had been there a while as some items had vines growing through them. This was a one beach trip as we filled the barge without even finishing the beach! 

10 volunteers
534 kgs collected

2nd December 2015

Everyone's Environment Grants
Shaw Island

It was a picture perfect day allowing us to once again reach the southern islands. Heading to Shaw Island and cleaning 3 different beaches. On the first beach the there was a lot of poly foam found which filled several bags also an unbelievable amount of thongs!  

10 volunteers
415.4 kgs collected

27th November 2015

Everyone's Environment Grants
Hook Island

The weather was back on our side today and the day started with a quick clean at Bottle Beach (due to not much debris!!) We then moved onto Saba bay where a huge amount of rope was found weighing a total of 256kg! A total of 4 beaches were cleaned on Hook Island. Another great day out on Eco Barge.

9 volunteers
545.9 kgs collected

26th November 2015

Everyone's Environment Grants
Dent, Hamilton and Henning Islands

The weather for today’s trip was a bit difficult, with the wind all over the place. However due to the very high tide we were able to get to some rocky locations which would otherwise have been inaccessible. Numerous beaches on the 3 islands were visited in order to collect as much marine debris as possible.

11 volunteers
275.35 kgs collected

25th November 2015

Everyone's Environment Grants
Pentecost, Shaw, Lindeman Islands

With another perfect day we headed back to the southern Islands, and so glad we did! Pentecost Island was full of large plastic crates, barrels and containers washed onto the rocks. Shaw Island had lots of large rope aswell as small fragmented plastics and Lindeman Island was a mixture of everything. A great day had on Eco Barge and a huge amount of debris removed from these stunning islands.

12 volunteers
526.1 kgs collected

24th November 2015

Cruise Whitsundays
Shaw Island

With the weather back on our side we were able to head south to Shaw Island, and as always there was plenty of marine debris. 3 different beaches were cleaned with mainly large plastic items being removed. With only 8 volunteers on board everyone did a fantastic job to collect a staggering 428kgs of rubbish!

8 volunteers
428.8 kgs collected

8th - 11th November 2015

Everyone's Environment Grants - EXPEDITION
Blacksmith, Goldsmith, Keyser, Linne, Thomas and Tinsmith Islands

It was with much excitement that we were able to undertake our second multi-day Expedition to remove marine debris from distant locations. An engine upgrade at the start of the year has resulted in many of the southern Whitsunday Islands now being able to be accessible in a single day trip, and we therefore took advantage of being based at Linderman Island to targeted locations even further south, including most of the islands in the Smith group. An amazing 2.6 tonne of marine debris was removed from only 12 beaches, with the huge accumulation that we found reminding us of what all the islands looked like before the Whitsunday Marine Debris Removal Program was launched. A big thank you to our wonderful Expedition Team that really went above and beyond to remove all the debris.

10 volunteers
2,613 kgs collected

29th October 2015

Reef Catchments
Genesta Bay, mainland

We decided to head back to Genesta Bay again today to target the long sandy beach that we had been unable to get to during the trip earlier in the week. Lots more plastic items to be found, but we can now say that this beautiful Bay is now completely free from marine debris!

11 volunteers
343 kgs collected

27th October 2015

Cruise Whitsundays
Genesta Bay, mainland

Difficult tides and inconsistent weather again had us looking in new places for marine debris, and once again we were not disappointed (for lack of a better term - it would actually be exciting to go out one day and not find any rubbish!!). Today we filled the barge with debris from along the south-east facing coastline heading into Genesta Bay - we didn't even get into the long sandy beach at the end, which was quite lucky as the wind picked up earlier than expected and it would have been a super wet trip home if we had left any later.

12 volunteers
518 kgs collected

24th October 2015

Operation Clean Seas/Great Barrier Reef Clean-up
Saba and Mackeral Bays, Hook Island

The weather was back to being amazing, but we were fighting with an outgoing tide all day, which limited the beaches that we were able clean. A quick stop off at Solway Lass to meet the members of the Earthwatch Expedition that are doing a research project on the issue of marine debris in the Whitsunday region was an interesting addition to the day, and then our wonderful volunteers made easy work of cleaning three beaches on the ever-impacted Hook Island.

12 volunteers
138 kgs collected

23rd October 2015

Operation Clean Seas/Great Barrier Reef Clean-up
Pioneer Bay and Bluff Point

Once again the stronger than predicted winds required a last minute change of destination, with Pioneer Bay and Bluff Point being targeted today. A lot of boat debris was found at these locations, contributing to another large kilo count for today's clean-up.

12 volunteers
477 kgs collected

22nd October 2015

Operation Clean Seas/Great Barrier Reef Clean-up
Shaw Island

With a full barge and amazing weather today we once again made the long trip south to tackle three beaches on Shaw Island. The falling tide meant that we were under the pump, but it only added to the adventure. Lots of laughs and large kilo count equals a great day out for Eco Barge!

12 volunteers
522 kgs collected

21st October 2015

Operation Clean Seas/Great Barrier Reef Clean-up
Long Island Sound

The stronger than predicted winds today ended up being a good thing as we stuck to the mainland coast on the inside of Long Island and found a treasure trove of marine debris hidden inside Long Island Sound - just when we think we are getting on top of all the beaches in the region! Lots of large items were found here, including tyres, netting, moorings and lots of rope.

11 volunteers
441 kgs collected

14th October 2015

Operation Clean Seas/Great Barrier Reef Clean-up
South Molle and Long Islands

The weather is determined to make it hard for us this year, but the spirits of our volunteers prevailed and we were able to clean five beaches on South Molle and an additional two beaches on Long Island. We had targeted all of these beaches in the last two months, so the amount of marine debris was surprising, with lots of tiny plastic pieces being found.

12 volunteers
338 kgs collected

13th October 2015

Operation Clean Seas/Great Barrier Reef Clean-up
George's Point and Armit Island

The weather was far from ideal today, but good enough for us to target some of our northern hotspot locations. Only a couple of bags of debris were found on the eastern beach of Armit Island, but 183 kilograms were removed from the ever dirty beaches at George's Point. The tide was also perfect to remove a 150 kilogram trawler box from Bluff Point that has been there for a while, but had always been inaccessible on our previous trips.

12 volunteers
393 kgs collected

12th October 2015

Operation Clean Seas/Great Barrier Reef Clean-up
Bluff and Grimston Points

With the weather forecast changing every couple of hours we decided to stick relatively close to home today and clean the coastline of Bluff and Grimston Points. This turned out to be a very good decision with the wind picking up in the morning, making the short trip back at the end of the day a very wet one indeed! The drenching was not in vain though with our happy group of volunteers targeting five beaches and removing an impressive amount of debris.

9 volunteers
457 kgs collected

1st October 2015

Operation Clean Seas/Great Barrier Reef Clean-up
Hazelwood Island

It was back to Hazelwood today to clean the last five south-east facing beaches on this island. The wind picked up a little earlier than expected, so it was quite a wet ride back to Airlie Beach, but it was definitely an excellent way to launch Operation Clean Seas 2015!

12 volunteers
371 kgs collected

30th September 2015

Cruise Whitsundays
Hazelwood Island

Today the wind was blowing more than expected, so a last minute change of plan saw us cleaning the beaches of Hazelwood Island. We had been contacted a week ago by 'Women Who Sail Australia' to let us know that they had been collecting marine debris on their travels and had left it in a pile for us at Windy Bay. This rubbish was collected and then four other beaches were targeted by our hard-working volunteers. Most of the rubbish collected today were light-weight items, and so the overall kilogram count really does highlight the effort that was put in by all.  

11 volunteers
408 kgs collected

29th September 2015

Everyone's Environment Grants
Shaw Island

They say that good things come to those that wait, and today's glass out allowed us once again to head to the southern Whitsunday Islands. A total of eight beaches were cleaned along Shaw Island, with minimal rubbish being found on the first two beaches, but all the rest were highly impacted. The last beach was the worst out of all of them, and we were unable to get all the debris removed as unfortunately the barge was already full. We will happily return to this beautiful location again though - as soon as the weather will allow.

7 volunteers
505 kgs collected

17th September 2015

Everyone's Environment Grants
Maher Island

Finally a glass out! And we certainly made the most of it by heading down to the southern Whitsunday Islands, with Maher Island being the target for today. We had not been to this island since our Expedition in November 2014 and that was certainly obvious with the beach and two small rocky bays being covered in marine debris. We had a smaller number of volunteers on-board today and so everyone worked incredibly hard to get all the debris removed.

8 volunteers
342 kgs collected

1st September 2015

Cruise Whitsundays
Mackeral Bay, Hook Island

Today was the first day of spring, and the weather certainly showed it! We had never checked the south-east facing beach at the bottom of Nara Inlet, and to our surprise there was not a single item of marine debris to be found. Mackeral Bay as usual had plenty of rubbish though, with four months having passed since we last targeted these beaches. The best parts of the marine debris removal trips this time of year are definitely the whale spotting opportunities, and today definitely did not disappoint with a mother and calf putting on a 15 minute show and leaving our volunteers in awe.

11 volunteers
291 kgs collected

31st August 2015

Everyone's Environment Grants
Solace Bay, Whitsunday Island

The tides today allowed the hard to access Solace Bay to be targeted, with all seven beaches now finally being completely cleaned of marine debris. Whitsunday Island is the largest island in the Whitsundays with so many south-east facing bays and beaches, but finally after all these years we feel like we are in a position to keep all of them free from marine debris - this is such an achievement and obviously would not be possible without the hard work of all of our wonderful volunteers!

11 volunteers
542 kgs collected

30th August 2015

Everyone's Environment Grants
Repulse Islands

The weather and tides do not get any better than they were today, so we made the most of the opportunity to head to Repulse Islands some of the southern-most islands in the Whitsunday group. This is the first time we have ever targeted these islands in a single-day trip and only the second time we had ever removed marine debris from this hotspot location. The amount of time to get there and back reduced the time available to clean, but our amazing volunteers worked extremely hard to remove hundreds of small degraded pieces of plastic from only four beaches.

11 volunteers
488 kgs collected

29th August 2015

Everyone's Environment Grants
Saba Bay, Hook Island

We were unfortunately five volunteers down for our trip today, but we were determined not to let our smaller numbers reduce the amount of marine debris that we removed. We were heading to Saba Bay, but we decided to check a couple of other south-east facing beaches on Hook Island on the way, and we found these covered in marine debris as they had never been targeted by a marine debris removal trip. An excellent day on the water and thank you so much to our small team of volunteers for working so hard!

7 volunteers
304 kgs collected

25th August 2015

Everyone's Environment Grants
South Molle, Long, Hamilton and Whitsunday Islands

The weather was great, but the tides definitely were not in our favour, resulting in four different islands being targeted during the day in our search for rubbish. Only one beach could be accessed on South Molle before the tide got too low and the lack of marine debris found on the southern beaches of Long Island was surprising. The south-east facing beaches on Hamilton Island never disappoint, with 105 kilograms of marine debris removed from only three beaches, and lastly one beach in Torres Herald Bay contained another 50 kilograms of debris to round off today's total.

12 volunteers
218 kgs collected

18th August 2015

Everyone's Environment Grants
Whitsunday Island

Finding marine debris proved quite difficult today, with all the beaches in Turtle and Chance Bays checked but very little rubbish to be found. The last two beaches in Solace Bay, however, had the amounts of marine debris that we are accustomed to find in the Whitsundays, with the majority of today's kilo count coming from just these two beaches.

12 volunteers
283 kgs collected

17th August 2015

Everyone's Environment Grants
South Molle Island

The winds had picked up a little today so it was a slow trip to South Molle Island, but a trip worth taking with the six beaches targeted all containing a large amount of small plastic items. Very few larger items were found, with anyone that has been on a marine debris removal trip being able to appreciate just how much effort is required to remove over 350 kgs of tiny plastic pieces. Great work by all our volunteers today!

12 volunteers
359 kgs collected

12th August 2015

Everyone's Environment Grants
Gumbrell Island and Grimston and George's Points, mainland

Today we were lucky to have five members of the 'Muddy Scales' film crew join us to experience and get some footage of the wonderful work of the Whitsunday Marine Debris Removal Program. Just over 100 kgs was found on Grimston Point and Gumbrell Island combined, but once again George's Point was where all the rubbish was at with 104 kgs removed from four beaches.

10 volunteers
209 kgs collected

11th August 2015

Reef Catchments
Rattray and Gloucester Islands

Another beautiful day and therefore another marine debris removal trip! It is always hit and miss when we target Rattray Island as a high tide can wash any trapped marine debris straight over the island and back into the water, and this is probably what had happened resulting in only 19 kgs being found today. Our volunteers then did an outstanding job removing marine debris from six beaches on Gloucester Island - something that would have been unheard of a few years ago and as such celebrates the amazing work that has been done by all of our volunteers in recent years. 

12 volunteers
182 kgs collected

10th August 2015

Everyone's Environment Grants
Deloraine, Border, Hook and Whitsunday Islands

The volunteers today were treated to a tour of the Whitsunday Islands with the amazing weather allowing us to target some of the further away islands. Deloraine Island has only one south-east facing beach, and only 16 kgs of marine debris was found. The four beaches on Border Island contained much more rubbish though, with 204 kgs being removed by our hard working volunteers. Bottletop Beach on Hook Island also had minimal debris and then our last stop was to a rocky outcrop on Whitsunday Island where an enormous longline had been observed to have washed up on the rocks. There was no way that we were able to remove this in one piece so we cut off 104 kgs and will return to get more another day!

11 volunteers
337 kgs collected

3rd August 2015

Everyone's Environment Grants
Grassy Island and George's Point, mainland

The weather has made it impossible to run marine debris removal trips, so it was with great joy that we were finally able to get out on the water again today. We decided to tackle Grassy Island first and were pleasantly surprised to only find 68 kgs on the two beaches. We then continued further north to George's Point and the beaches here where a completely different story, with 328 kgs of marine debris being removed from only three beaches.

12 volunteers
396 kgs collected

16th July 2015

BMC
Bluff and Grimston Points, mainland

Today was a very special trip for Eco Barge and our partner BMC, with a group of their Graduates starting the day with a tour of the Whitsunday Turtle Rescue Centre (meeting the beautiful Amandine) before donning the gloves to remove marine debris from four beaches along Bluff and Grimston Point. The majority of the debris collected consisted of small plastic pieces, with the enthusiasm of the BMC team remaining high and everyone on board having a great day while they helped to protect our local islands and marine life from the threat of marine debris.

16 volunteers
206 kgs collected

20th June 2015

Reef Catchments
Bluff Point, mainland

Our marine debris removal trip today had the added excitement of the release of Ella, the beautiful 170 kilogram female green turtle that had been receiving care in the Whitsunday Turtle Rescue Centre. After her successful release in Pioneer Bay our volunteers were super motivated to protect her and other turtles in this area by removing marine debris from Bluff Point. At the end of the day there was 200 kilograms less rubbish in the Whitsunday region to threaten our precious marine life.

11 volunteers
246 kgs collected

18th June 2015

Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing
Armit, Gumbrell and Double Cone Islands

Today we decided to target some of the northern islands of the Whitsunday group, with one beach on each of the Double Cone Islands, one beach on Gumbrell and three beaches on Armit Island being cleaned. The majority of marine debris at all locations were small, broken-down plastic particles, and the kilogram count for the day therefore really does not reflect the effort of the volunteers in removing all these tiny pieces of rubbish.

12 volunteers
242 kgs collected

17th June 2015

Everyone's Environment Grants
Hamilton Island

It has taken over a month, but finally the weather allowed us to get back out on the water and today we decided to target the always highly impacted beaches of Driftwood Bay on Hamilton Island. As usual, these beaches were full of a large variety of plastic items and our volunteers did an amazing job of removing over 700 kilograms of marine debris from only six beaches.

12 volunteers
724 kgs collected

6th May 2015

Everyone's Environment Grants
Long and South Molle Islands and Cape Conway, mainland

With the amazing weather holding we were able to undertake our fourth back-to-back trip today. Go team go! With many of the targeted locations not being as impacted as expected it ended up being a bit of a tour of the islands, with six beaches on two islands and one mainland location being cleaned. A big thank you once again to all our dedicated volunteers for helping us protect the Whitsunday Islands from marine debris!

11 volunteers
262 kgs collected

5th May 2015

Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing
Cape Conway, mainland

The glorious weather permitted us to take the long trip down to Cape Conway to target some beaches that had not been cleaned since August 2013. The lack of attention these beaches have received was obvious as we were greeted by large quantities of plastic bottles, buckets and containers, as well as rope, fishing net, net floats and buoys. The volunteers quickly got to task, and the load carrying area of the barge was completely full after only three beaches!

11 volunteers
675 kgs collected

4th May 2015

Everyone's Environment Grants
Hook Island

An unbelievable seven beaches were cleaned today in both Saba and Mackeral Bays, which is definitely a new accomplishment for the Whitsunday Marine Debris Removal Program and highlights the success of our monitoring phase. And then, as if to say thanks to our volunteers for their great efforts, three marine turtles did a swim-by of the barge while we were enjoying lunch at Langford Reef.

11 volunteers
301 kgs collected

3rd May 2015

Everyone's Environment Grants
Long and Pine Islands

The minimal severe weather experienced at the start of the year is definitely obvious in the type of marine debris that we are currently finding on the hotspot beaches. There are less of the larger items and our volunteers are consequently finding themselves on their hands and knees removing the thousands of small plastic fragments that are created over time as the larger items begin to deteriorate and break into smaller and smaller pieces. This was the case on Long Island, with 247 kilograms of small plastic items being removed by our amazing and ever-motivated volunteers.

10 volunteers
360 kgs collected

25th April 2015

Keep Australia Beautiful Grant
South Molle Island and Genesta Bay, mainland

With a falling tide in the morning we made a quick stop in at South Molle on our way to Genesta Bay. We only had 30 minutes before the tide became too low and 26 kgs of marine debris was hastily removed by our dedicated volunteers. The rest of the day was then spent in Genesta Bay, slowly but surely, removing lots of small plastic pieces and a few large buried items from the 1.4 km long stretch of beach.

11 volunteers
245 kgs collected

26th March 2015

Reef Catchments
Rattray and Gloucester Islands

With the continuation of good weather we decided to squeeze one more barge trip out this month, with today's destination being two of our Northern Islands. Very few large items were found, just lots of small plastic rubbish that was mixed in with the pumice stone, making it quite time consuming to collect. Our volunteers all did an amazing job to get all of the beaches of these two islands completely cleared of marine debris.

12 volunteers
190 kgs collected

24th March 2015

Keep Australia Beautiful Grant
Whitsunday and Hazelwood Islands

It was to our great surprise that minimal marine debris was found on the usually impacted Whitsunday Island today, with it believed that someone must have already removed marine debris from these south-east facing bays and beaches as we have never seen them looking so clean. A big thank you to these mystery cleaners! Our volunteers all got a sturdy reminder of the issue of marine debris in the Whitsunday region upon our arrival at Hazelwood Island though, with three very small beaches holding enough debris to fill the barge. 

10 volunteers
384 kgs collected

21st March 2015

BMC
Grimston Point, Mainland

The trip today was undertaken to allow our new Eco Ambassadors to see first-hand the impact of marine debris in the Whitsunday Islands. We took them to Grimston Point, a location that is known to be impacted by local debris and these eight amazing students quickly got to task and cleaned the beach before returning to Eco HQ to learn more about marine debris and its impact on marine turtles. We are incredibly excited about the Eco Ambassador Program, with the students now being equipped to begin promoting the mission and environmental messages of Eco Barge within their schools.

13 volunteers
106 kgs collected

6th March 2015

Keep Australia Beautiful Grant
Saba Bay, Hook Island

We made the most of the unusually amazing weather for this time of the year and travelled to Hook Island to target the small but highly impacted beaches in Saba Bay. The usual array of plastic debris was found and our volunteers worked despite the heat to remove all these items from the beaches. A big thank you also needs to be given to the caretaker on Hook Island for collecting six bags of marine debris from a beach near the old underwater observatory - we love that the community is so committed to keeping the Whitsundays free of marine debris!

12 volunteers
212 kgs collected

27th February 2015

Keep Australia Beautiful Grant
Grimston and Bluff Points, Mainland

The extremely hot conditions made for tough conditions, but with more than two months having passed since we last ran a marine debris removal trips, our volunteers were all in high spirits. It was fantastic being back out on the water again and we look forward to running many more trips as the weather conditions begin to improve.

12 volunteers
311 kgs collected




























































































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