WA Beach Clean-Up 2021: Another successful campaign

The 2021 WA Beach Clean-Up marked the 17th year of this special event. Alongside their partner Keep Australia Beautiful WA, Tangaroa Blue Foundation (TBF) welcomed Tallwood Constructions to their corporate donor base. Their generous contribution provided valuable funding to grow the operational capacity for the WA Beach Clean-Up in 2021.

Over 1200 people from across the community spent 2780 volunteer hours participating, from dedicated environmental groups to Indigenous Land and Sea Rangers, workplace teams, businesses and groups of families and friends. Among the 80+ coastal or estuarine sites across the State this year, local action included:

• Uunguu Rangers and Wunambal Gaambera Traditional Owners cleaning up rubbish on the Uunguu Coast and working hard to keep the pristine country healthy (Big shout out to Uunguu Ranger: Tabitha Evans pictured above on the left at Butcher’s Bay)
• A team of fourteen employees from Alcoa’s Kwinana refinery (pictured above on the top right) grabbed a bucket and tongs to take part in this year’s annual Western Australian Beach Clean-Up along Challenger Beach for the second year running.

Since 2005, around the middle weekend of October, beaches, estuaries, and coastal areas across Western Australia have been cleaned up and vital data submitted to the Australian Marine Debris Initiative Database, a national database that contributes to the understanding, monitoring and managing of marine debris. The region covered is vast, extending this year from the Eyre Bird Observatory in the Great Australian Bight, northwards eighteen hundred kilometres to the remote coasts of Yampi Sound and the Anjo Peninsula in the Kimberley region, and completing the circuit south then east along the West Australian coastline. This area encompasses a variety of marine debris sources and circulation processes.

Tangaroa Blue Foundation (TBF) encourages a whole of landscape approach for addressing the marine debris issue. TBF defines the term ‘marine debris’ in a broad sense that includes man-made waste, litter and debris in any oceanic, coastal, inland water and shoreline environment. Knowing what kinds of debris are impacting a location and having a guide to its possible origins is a necessary step toward finding solutions. Whilst sorting and recording marine debris data can be an onerous task, the effort spent in collecting that data is invaluable as it enables the development and ongoing improvement of knowledge to guide solutions.

Data collected during clean-ups provides a snapshot of debris across the state and helps to compare the types of debris found in different regions and location-types over time. This information can then be used to identify problem items, locations and stakeholders and inform source reduction efforts at scales varying from local initiatives to state-wide plans.

This article was written in collaboration with Casey Woodward from Tangaroa Blue Foundation, Kate Sutton from Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation, Vanessa McGuiness from Perth NRM, Ashley Wright from ALCOA. Images provided by Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation (left) and ALCOA.(right).

Would you like to be involved? Join Tangaroa Blue Foundation here.