For Immediate Release
With hundreds of people across Australia every year participating in annual Clean Up Australia Day events, the team at Coral Sea Marina Resort decided this year was their turn to make the pledge and commit to making a difference in their own backyard.
In partnership with Tangaroa Blue Foundation and the Rotary Club of Airlie Beach, Coral Sea Marina Resort put the call out to the Whitsunday community on Sunday 6 March to come and clean up a slice of paradise.
Kate Purdie, CEO of Coral Sea Marina explains “The first Sunday in March is generally a scorcher in the tropics – and that was especially true this year – so we were thrilled to have a dedicated group of volunteers brave the heat and help us do our part by joining in Coral Sea Marina Resort’s Clean Up Australia Day event in partnership with Tangaroa Blue Foundation and the Rotary Club of Airlie Beach.
“We take great pride in our world-class on and offshore facilities, and our team work continuously to ensure they are well-maintained, so it was surprising to see just how much rubbish we found adjacent to the CSMR precinct. “
“After dedicated campaigns to reduce the use of plastic straws and plastic bags it was great to see fewer of them this year, but they have been replaced with disposable masks and shopping receipts among other items – a compelling reminder that the real issue is single use anything, not just plastics.”
Volunteers, young and old, came out in heatwave conditions to do their bit and collect litter on land and at sea. The Rotary Club of Airlie Beach took tenders out from the marina and cleaned up areas only accessible by boat, whilst enthusiastic children and their families walked Airlie Beach’s scenic boardwalk collecting litter and debris along the way.
Collection bags were provided by Tangaroa Blue Foundation as part of their ReefClean program, with all the litter collected being sorted, monitored and weighed with the data then being inputted into the Australian Marine Debris Initiative database for further analysis. In total, 131kg of litter was collected, with the main items collected being plastic food packaging and hard and soft plastic fragments.
Heidi Tait, CEO of Tangaroa Blue Foundation said “Clean-up Australia Day is a wonderful opportunity for the community to partner up for the benefit of our environment. Every piece of rubbish removed also removes the threat it poses to our wildlife and every piece of data collected provides the evidence needed to push for change. We look forward to doing it all again in October for the ReefClean Great Barrier Reef Clean-up event.”
Volunteers enjoyed a sausage sizzle in the stunning marina gardens, before heading home to cool down after the morning’s efforts.
With source reduction being a strong focus of Coral Sea Marina’s environmental policy, another initiative they are currently working on with the Tangaroa Blue Foundation is the ReefClean ‘Ditch the Flick’ campaign. This campaign is designed to drive behavioural changes among smokers on the Great Barrier Reef, reducing cigarette butt litter and offering a better way of disposing cigarette butts.
As part of the ReefClean program, the team from Tangaroa Blue Foundation will monitor the cigarette butt hotspots with aim of the project being to see significant changes in the number of butts collected over time.
Heidi Tait explains “Our ReefClean program provides a great opportunity to collaborate with business partners across the Great Barrier Reef. The Coral Sea Marina has taken the lead, becoming the first marina to start implementing the ReefClean Ditch the Flick program which aims to reduce cigarette butt litter around the marina grounds.”
“Cigarette butts are the number one littered item in the Australian Marine Debris Initiative Database, so projects like these are essential in reducing the plastic footprint impacting the Great Barrier Reef.”
All marina guests, visitors and locals are encouraged to support the campaign by disposing of cigarette butts in the bin provided and ‘ditching the flick’. A social and digital campaign will support the program and be rolled out by the marina to generate awareness over the coming months.
Ms Purdie offers further comment on the campaign “Cigarettes continue to feature heavily in the waste collected, so we are excited to be embarking on the Ditch the Flick campaign, in an effort to ensure cigarettes are disposed of properly in our region.
We look forward to seeing a reduction in cigarettes on the ground during our ReefClean Clean Up Day in October, an event which will be open to the public with all guests and members of our local community welcome and encouraged to get involved.”
The Clean Up Australia day event was coordinated through Coral Sea Marina’s educational event platform – the Coral Sea Academy. The Coral Sea Academy provides a series of immersive and engaging events for people to consciously connect with boating, the environment and themselves.
For more information on upcoming Coral Sea Academy events, that are open and available to the community and visitors to the Whitsunday region, visit the new Coral Sea Academy website – coralseaacademy.com