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Barge takes out the trash

By Mark Beale

ECO Barge has once again undertaken an expedition to the southern Whitsunday islands, where volunteers removed 2614 kilograms of marine debris in just three days.

Eco Barge’s expeditions provide an opportunity to focus on the islands further south that are the first point of contact for marine debris, which is brought into the region by the south-east trade winds.

Project co-ordinator at Eco Barge, Jackie Smith, said marine debris could be found all along the coastline of Australia, yet the issue was intensified in the Whitsunday region due to the islands and the number of south-east facing bays.

“We know that the southern islands are highly impacted, but they are difficult to clean in a standard day trip due to their distance from Airlie Beach,” she said.

The expedition was based at Linderman Island with White Horse Australia providing accommodation for the 10 volunteers. Eleven beaches were cleaned up on Linne, Tinsmith, Goldsmith, Blacksmith, Thomas and Keyser Islands.

Founding chair of Eco Barge Libby Edge applauded the efforts by the volunteers.

“The huge accumulation that we found on these beaches reminded us of what all the islands looked like before the Whitsunday Marine Debris Removal Program was launched. It is a great reminder of the positive impacts that we are having in the region,” she said.

A total of 15,940 kilograms of marine debris has been removed to date in 2015, bringing the amount of debris removed since the launch of the program in July 2009 to 135.6 tonnes.

For more information , visit www.ecobargeclean seas.org.au.

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