$100,000 fund­ing for Eco Barge

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

ECO Barge will be launch­ing two new pro­grams to help res­cue stranded sea tur­tles and mon­i­tor marine de­bris re­moval projects as a re­sult of a $100,000 fund­ing boost from the state govern­ment.

National Parks Min­is­ter Steve Dick­in­son said the New­man govern­ment was pro­vid­ing $100,000 over two years to the non-profit group, who ac­tively re­move marine de­bris from is­lands and beaches of the Whit­sun­days and Mackay.

Mr Dick­in­son and Min­is­ter for En­vi­ron­ment and Her­itage Pro­tec­tion An­drew Pow­ell met with Eco Barge founder Libby Edge at Boathaven Beach to make the an­nounce­ment last Wed­nes­day.

Ms Edge said fund­ing had been a strug­gle since day one.

“This fund­ing will help to keep our marine de­bris re­moval pro­gram sus­tain­able and on­go­ing and se­condly, help us run an ef­fec­tive Whit­sun­day marine strand­ing pro­gram,” she said.

“We will soon be in a bet­ter po­si­tion to as­sist the Queens­land Parks and Wil- dlife Ser­vice marine strand­ing pro­gram by help­ing to res­cue stranded sea tur­tles, and pro­vide them with tem­po­rary care.”

Eco Barge’s part­ner­ship with the Or­der of the Un­der­wa­ter Coral Heroes (O.U.C.H) has en­abled vol­un­teers to re­move 170 kilo­grams of un­der­wa­ter de­bris since their first un­der­wa­ter marine de­bris re­moval pro­gram in May this year.

“Un­der­wa­ter we are see­ing things that have come off ves­sels like chairs, boat hooks, cups, fish­ing line, tow­els and clothes so very heavy items com­pared to what we find on the beach which is bot­tle tops, plas­tics and fish­ing items,” she said.

Eco Barge also hit a ma­jor mile­stone of 100,000kg of col­lected marine de­bris from the Whit­sun­day re­gion in June this year.

Ms Edge said even with th­ese suc­cesses they are by no means on top of it yet.

“This fund­ing will help us get the job done but we still need spon­sors to con­tinue projects in the fu­ture,” she said.

STEP FOR­WARD: National Parks Min­is­ter Steve Dick­son, Whit­sun­day MP Ja­son Costi­gan, Min­is­ter for En­vi­ron­ment and Mer­itage An­drew Pow­ell learned about Eco Barge's marine de­bris re­moval projects with founder Libby Edge on Wed­nes­day last week.

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