Mona Vale Beach Cleanup

 A pattern is really starting to form now that we are on our third Clean-up.
We still coming across the strangest of items that make you think “how the hell did that get there?”  Like the washing machine drum we found on the beach. 

You really have to ask yourself why & how it got there.  Was it bought in as part of a party?   Did people build a fire in it & abandon it when the festivities were over?  Or did it come in on the tide, washed in from some far away country, perhaps as part of a flood or storm. Perhaps it just biffed in the sea with no regard for the oceans welfare.  If it could speak I’m sure it has a cautionary tale to tell us about our careless ways.

A real stand out in the Mona Vale clean were cigarette butts at a staggering 1400!! Big thanks to Anthony from Plastic Pollution solutions & Mark for taking the time to count these toxic things.

The Northern beaches are smoke free but still this quantity was picked up in in 45mins. Two of which were freshly put out as one of our volunteers was collecting butts from the beach front.  A clear indication that some still believe butts to be a socially acceptable form of litter.
Cigarette butts are made from a plastic called cellulose acetate & like other forms of Plastic, it does not break down.  Instead they have the opportunity to contaminate the surrounding environment with its toxic chemical cocktail & as they float they are swallowed up by Marine life.

So what can you do about this?
Speak up. Talk to your local council about having receptacles or bins installed where there are none.  Traditionally there are very little bins on & around beaches & those that are there can quickly overflow.  It’s a good idea to take your trash home with you to prevent this & don’t stuff it in a full bin, its gonna come out!
Educate people on the damage  ciggie butts can do.  Many are still under the false belief that cigarette butts degrade or are unaware what a pollutant they can be in the environment.
If you are a smoker & I can tell you I was until about 6 years ago, consider your options. The thought that I was contributing to such unnecessary damage in the environment (not to mention myself) was a defining factor in quitting.  If you do smoke take your butts with you & dispose of them thoughtfully.

There has been talk of a Cigarette butt deposit scheme being introduced.  Much like the container deposit scheme wherein you take back your old bottles & get “X” amount of cash back into your pocket you would take back your butts.  These schemes have been proven to work & perhaps that same could be said for butts.  It does raise some strong ethical questions though as well around the culture of smoking.

Anyways back to the tally from the day.

600+ Polystyrene pieces; still high up on the list was & the solution? Stem the flow & REFUSE all polystyrene containers, cups or food containers & bring your own. If it’s not being used it can’t become ocean trash. Thanks Paul for spending the time to count all of these!

427 Food wrappers; these things really are everywhere!  They may not have dumped,  quite possibly could have been blown from rubbish bins, even yours, into the street drain & into the ocean.  All drains lead to the sea.  Again stem the flow at the source, your source.  The majority of wrappers found are snack food wrappers & these can be replaced with alternatives.  Buy snacks like nuts in bulk from local bulk stores.  Make your own snacks where you can.  There are lots of recipes out there for simple snacks just check in with Google.  Choose food with its own degradable wrapping like apples & bananas.  Your body will thank you for the healthy alternatives.

It really comes down to making some thoughtful choices. Is there an alternative to this plastic swathed item & more often than not there is.  It really is up to each & every one of us to make daily choices & bring about change in our own community.  We have the power to make real lasting changes.  Changes that will ripple through to future generations shaping the world our children will inhabit. 

And so today I’m going to ask the you consider one, just one alternative to that plastic item you would normally purchase & I’d love to hear about it!!

Our next clean-up with by at Palm Beach on the 21st of August & we will proudly be supported by the local & ever so wonderful The Boathouse at Palm Beach.
They will be providing some breakfast & a free coffee for those that bring their own reusable cup along.  How cool is that!!   I will also be giving a talk from 9am so if you have any burning Plastic Free questions bring them along.
You will need to register with the Facebook event as numbers are limited for the coffee/breakfast combo.  Helpers however are not!!

All welcome, would love to see you there.

Much love Sarah xxx

Scroll down for the tally

Mona Vale Beach Clean-up Tally

Cigarette butts 1400+
fishing line 10 metres
polystyrene pieces 600
Plastic bits & pieces hard & solid 438
Food wrappers/containers 427
Paper & cardboard 235
Wet wipes 53
Straws 52
Metal drink lids (e.g. Beer lids) 37
Coffee Cups 30
Glass bottles 30
Plastic bottles 26
Coffee Cup lids 22
Bread tags 20
Pens/stationary 19
Cans 17
tomato sauce serves 16
Soy Sushi Fish 15
Clothing items 11
Cutlery – Plastic 11
Lids – metal 11
Balloons 10
Cotton Bud sticks 10
Hair tie 10
Balls 9
Shoes/thongs 9
Confection sticks 5
Lighters 5
Aluminium Foil 3
Cups – Plastic disposable 3
P-Plates 3
Wet suit items 3
Corks 2
Drug paraphernalia 2
toys 2
CD 1
Chap stick 1
Clear eyes 1
condom 1
Flippers 1
frisbee 1
Glow stick 1
gloves 1
metal spring 1
Rubber bits 1
shin guard 1
Sunglasses 1
$100 Gift Card 1
Washing Machine drum 1