$100,000 funding for Eco Barge
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.