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EcoMacK: Clean Up Australia Day 2017

28 April 2017 by

As you may be aware, in EcoMacK we are always learning about our environment and discovering numerous ways we can help, and contribute to it.

As one of the students who attend very regularly, I’m always in the loop about everything related to our environment both inside MacKillop and out.

On the second Sunday of every month the ‘Beach Patrol 3030’ organisers and volunteers get together on the beaches and waterways of 3030 for a group clean up.

The opportunity was presented by Mrs Moore in an EcoMacK meeting that we can go along to their March clean up (which also coincided with the Wyndham City Council’s Clean Up Australia Day event.) Being me, I was intrigued and couldn’t pass this up – I had to do it, at least once. I met Mrs Moore and her 3-year-old son (who loved the beach!) – on the 5th of March at about 10:30 AM near the Werribee South boat ramp. Once we were handed gloves and large garbage bags we began cleaning, similar to yard duty at MacKillop except on a larger scale with a nice view!

Along with the typical aluminium cans, plastic and glass bottles, food packaging, plastic bags and takeaway rubbish we also encountered more unexpected and still usable items that made us wonder such as bathers, surfing suits, clothing, accessories, rubber and plastic drink holders and even towels (all in which were in perfect condition besides an entire pizza still inside it’s box that had been shoved deep into a bush.) While I was able to get a laugh out of trying to work out how those items found their way to our beaches, as our bags got heavier and carrying them around the beach and its surrounding areas became more tiring, the fact remained that we had accumulated roughly 300 items between only us three in just over an hour.

After the clean up the rubbish was counted and it was found that across 58 volunteers 228 kg of litter including 264 recyclable bottles and cans. Apart from what I’ve already mentioned, other common items included cigarette butts, snack packs and cardboard. It’s great that we were able to be an immense help to Werribee’s environment and the species living in it – however if everyone was appropriately disposing of their waste by using the correct means (which is actually quite easy to do) it would not be subjected to the devastating impacts that it is.

Additionally, after the clean up, thanks to the Werribee Rotary Club we helped ourselves to a sausage sizzle and drinks which was great after some tiring work!

Why is litter clean up important?

Litter found at the beach is either dumped locally by beach users, washed to shore on tides or flows through the stormwater system onto the beach. The plastic in the ocean breaks down into micro plastic particles and is ingested by marine species, with plastic and toxins accumulating in their tissues and being transferred in increasing amounts up the food chain, including to top consumers such as humans.

In the production of many products, natural resources are also used, so, where possible, recyclable items should be placed into recycling so items can be turned into further useful items, eliminating the need to use new raw materials.

Beach Patrol 3030 details

The 3030 Beach Patrol crew have a monthly clean up held on the second Sunday of every month with coffee and a catch up afterwards at a local café.

The next clean up will be held at the K Road cliffs at 11.30am on 14 May 2017.

You can check https://www.beachpatrol.com.au/BeachGroups/3030 for further information about clean up dates, types of litter found at local beaches, etc..

Other ways you can help

Other community activities you can take part in are often advertised by Wyndham City Council on their Green Living in Wyndham Facebook page and also on the Council website.

In addition to this, our very own EcoMacK holds internal meetings and workshops and any MacKillop student or staff member is welcome to join/attend. Badges are supplied if you attend enough meetings and demonstrate a commitment to the group. Meetings are fun, beneficial and extremely engaging and allow like-minded people to share ideas for how we can improve sustainability at our school and within our local community.

The photo below shows the Clean Up Australia Day 2017 Werribee South clean up crew – Mrs Moore is kneeling on the left with her son, and I am standing directly behind in the back row.

By James Coulson

Year 11 EcoMacK member

Clean Up Australia Day Werribee South clean up crew

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