Imagine growing up in a place known as Curly, with a beach that looks like this…
Life is pretty awesome… and yet even these pristine looking Sydney Northern beaches have their fair share of plastic pollution, if you start to look closely. I was lucky enough to be joined by these beautiful mini ocean heroes for a beach clean.
In just 45 minutes, we collected 524 pieces of rubbish. Most of it was plastic. Some of it was really horrid (razor handles, a syringe, a glass vial, wet wipes). Lots of the items are commonly found on beaches all around the world (ear bud plastic sticks, drinking straws, water bottles and lids, disposable coffee cups, burst balloons, disposable cutlery, disposable lighters). Nearly all of it was preventable and none of it belongs on a beach or in the sea.
It’s easy to get a bit sad when you see so much rubbish. So we decided to make something spectacular with some of the things that we found.
In fact, I made a rubbish crown and necklace for Halloween – have a closer look at the rubbish we found!
Mrs Honour and the other lovely staff at North Curl Curl Primary School very kindly let me come and talk to their pupils about ocean plastic pollution. We talked about the different animals in the sea and how they are affected by plastic in the sea.
Turtles in particular have big problems with plastic bags in the sea, as they look very similar to jellyfish, which they eat. Turtles have spiky throats, to stop jellyfish sliding out of their mouths. But sadly this also means they can’t spit out plastic bags, which get stuck inside them, causing major issues and even death.
We talked about reusable items that can be easily carried every day and used instead of disposable items; straws, water bottles, coffee cups, reusable shopping bags and cutlery. These shopping links are Australian-based, but a quick internet search will help you find what you want, wherever you are.
And if you use Ecosia as your default search engine, you are an eco warrior making a positive difference just by searching the internet! The amazing people at Ecosia make money from advertising, which they use to plant trees. That is pretty wonderful, isn’t it?
I would like to say a HUGE thank you to North Curl Curl Public School for hosting a Treadlighter workshop. And for the fabulous flowers, that was very very kind of you (I love that they were not wrapped in plastic!). I hope lots of the children will encourage their families to be plastic clever. And maybe even do a beach clean.
If you want to do a beach clean, here are a few things to remember:
- Use a reusable bag / bucket / box to collect rubbish.
- Be very careful not to get injured by rubbish when searching (wear protective footwear, maybe gloves too and maybe use a litter picker!).
- Why not make some fun art with the items you have collected? We’d love to see some photos, so please post them below as a comment or send them to us via our contact page. We’ll display your eco-hero beach clean photos, to help inspire others (for security purposes names will not be used).
- Recycle as much of the rubbish as possible.
- Safely put the rubbish that cannot be recycled into a rubbish bin.
- If you are feeling like a hard working eco-hero, you can count how many items you collected, so it can be included in our treadlighter rubbish count grand total. You could even tell us how much of each item you found, if you want to be a total data-crunching superstar.
- If people watch you and ask you what you are doing, tell them about being a plastic superhero. Maybe they will want to be one too.
- Remember to wash your hands very thoroughly when you have finished!