Newport Beach Cleanup

The weather was forecast for another East coast low & the thoughts of the storms 3 weeks prior were in all of our heads,  did we have a rain plan?   The only plan was unless it was sideways rain we would go ahead as planned.

As I was driving to Newport at 9.30ish a few little pitter patters of rain appeared on my windscreen & my mitts were crossed for the rain to hold off long enough to do the clean-up.  I was ready for the elements, woolly hat, raincoat, kidney warmer & gumboots.  No rain was going to stop us, but would it stop others?

The short answer is no, the rain did not deter anyone from coming along to clean-up the ocean, 40+ people of all ages joined us.  How amazing is that!!

As the pitter patters turned in to a downpour we watched little bodies along the beach bent over picking at the tide line collecting the smaller pieces of micro plastics & by the time the clean-up was over & the sorting was done the Ocean lovers were well bonded in their sogginess.

The trash collected was quite different to what we picked up at the Avalon clean-up in May.  Less party stuff & loads more micro plastics, the tiny wee pieces that have broken down over time & make their way into the food chain & then onto our plates.

tub of micro plastic mixed in with grasses prior to separation

We didn’t sit & count the micro plastics so it’s only estimation that there was over 300 pieces, enough to fill half a large tub.  This was along the tide line & most likely had come in on the recent larges swells, can you just imagine what is floating around out there!  With the equivalent of one Garbage truck of trash per minute entering the ocean its paramount we all take responsibility for our actions & turn the tap off at the source, that’s us, each & every one of us.  That’s why it is so important that we have these clean-ups, every little bit counts!!!

Glass bottles, plastic drink bottles & cans totalled 184 but the winner this week were the stash of straws, lollipop sticks & cotton bud sticks at a mind boggling 702!!

the straw – lollipop stick – cotton bud stick stash

Now let me expand a little bit more on this cotton bud stick thingy if you are not already aware of it.  A while back when I was having a wee Take 3 for the Sea moment at my local beach I noticed that there were loads of these sticks along the tide line.  There were a few different sizes & some had holes at the end of the stick.  After a little more research I came to realise that these were not confectionary sticks as you might think, but cotton bud sticks!  You know the fellows you use for ear cleaning.  So how do these get to our beaches?  They get flushed down the loo & due to their size wastewater treatment systems are unable to catch them leaving them to cause all sorts of damage to Marine life as they are easily ingested.  So this is a no brainer to me, stop buying the plastic ones, there are loads of alternatives.  I use bamboo ones which are completely biodegradable & you can even compost them I’m told & I definitely don’t flush them down the loo!  So next time your shopping list calls for cotton buds think about this pile & opt for a environmentally friendly option.  They do cost a little more at the till but in the grand scheme of this planet choosing a safe option saves Marine life & ultimately ours.  Simple!  I use the Go bamboo brand which not only look pretty they come completely sans any plastic wrapper.  Most health stores sell them or you can purchase them online here, don’t forget to ask for your package to come Plastic free!

A couple of other interesting items were a plastic bottle full of urine (yes we tipped it out prior to recycling which is how we knew its contents),  Sushi fish & extra lids, a nice array of jandals (or thongs I think you call them), single serve tomato sauce containers & a Pregnancy test; outcome unknown. Scroll to the bottom for the full list.  One of the more beautiful things that was collected was a port Jackson shark & a bundle of shark eggs.  A reminder of the Marine life that can be harmed through careless consumerism choices & actions.  All returned to the sea.

photo credit @ Denby Sheather

Now we can’t forget the Northern beaches Council who so very helpfully supplied us with 2 waste bins & 2 recycling bins so we could dispose of out trash thoughtfully, lesson learnt from last time!

Lili & Mavournee tally up the collection

So there we have it, Newport Beach has been spruced up with the help of Living Ocean & a very soggy dedicated team of locals that braved the rain & I couldn’t thank them more. It’s so heart warming for me to see such passion & love for our local beaches from the community.  Mark, one of our volunteer’s was so concerned about the amount of Cigarette butts he picked up (130 alone from a 60m stretch) that he decided to write to The Manly Daily expressing his concern  & was published as letter of the day.  Again one person CAN make a difference & contacting the local paper & council spreads the word to others.

So we hope to see you all again at the next Clean-up on the 24th July at Mona Vale Beach.  Absolutely all welcome!

Much love S xxx

Ps scroll down for more snaps of the day

Newport Tally

Plastic bits & pieces hard & solid 1/2 tub approx 300+ bits
Confection sticks/Cotton Bud sticks/straws 702
Cigarette butts 235
Aluminium cans 98
Plastic drink bottles 76
Soft drink lids 45
Plastic Food packaging/wrappers 43
Plastic Lids & tops 35
Plastic bags supermarket/ice etc 30
Aluminium Foil pieces 23
Soy Sushi Fish lids 20
Clothing 19
Newspaper, magazines & brochures 16
Metal drink lids (eg Beerlids) 15
Tuna tins 15
Plastic Food Containers 14
Soy Sushi Fish 11
Glass bottles 100
Plastic Cutlery 10
Sunglasses 9
Gloves 8
Thongs 7
Toothbrushes, brushes, hair ties 7
Pens/stationary 6
Wet Wipes 6
Balls 5
Coffee Cups 5
Glow stick 5
Coffee Cup lids 4
Soft Drink cups 4
Rope (estimated length in metres) 3
Balloon string 2
Parking Tickets 2
Plastic Food Plates 2
Toys 2
Bottle of urine 1
Cigarette lighters 1
Flipper 1
Leg rope 1
Lino piece 1
Medical waste 1
Pregnancy test 1
Sanitary/nappies/condoms 1
Secateurs 1
Shoes 1
Tyre 1
Wine Bladder 1
Window Pane 1

ishing line tangled around marine debris

Lulu & Rillia dressed for the elements

Max’s Shark egg collection