ECO BARGE BUSTS BUTTS
ECO Barge volunteers ramped up the fight against marine debris this morning at the Airlie Beach foreshore.
More than 50 people took part in a land-based clean up, focusing on black plastic drinking straws and cigarette butts.
Founder of the Eco Barge group Libby Edge said the organisation was a community based not-for-profit group whose aim was to implement a constant on-going marine debris removal program.
She said Eco Barge had identified southeast facing bays and beaches in the Whitsunday Island group as problem areas.
“That’s where the rubbish enters the water from storm water drains further south, gets into the currents and the southeast trade winds blow it into the south facing bays,” she said.
Ms Edge said most tourists didn’t see the scale of the marine debris problem because most resorts were positioned on north facing island bays.
Since July 2009 Eco Barge has removed over 147,000kg of marine rubbish from the water ways of the Whitsundays.
The Great Barrier Marine Park Authority and the Australian Government Reef Trust have come together to support Eco Barge in their marine debris removal plan until June this year.
Ms Edge said if rubbish could be collected onshore it would prevent plastic entering the ocean. She added seeing the devastating effect of plastic on the wildlife population provided strong motivation to dispose of litter responsibly.
FRIENDS OF THE REEF: Eco Barge founder Libby Edge with volunteers Rachel Hutchinson, Harmony Sanderson and Bonnie Syne. Photo Peter Carruthers