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Hunter LLS salutes local rubbish warriors

With Tangaroa Blue Foundation this week revealing the details of 10 million items littering our waterways and coast, Hunter Local Land Services wants to pay tribute to the volunteers committed to cleaning up our region.

4381 volunteers and partners from the Hunter region have taken part in Tangaroa Blue Foundation’s Australian first study revealing the types of rubbish in our waterways and  coasts.

The volunteers worked with community groups and partner organisations across the country to collect and record more than 10 million plastic fragments, cigarette butts and plastic lids & bottle caps from local waterways.

“Hunter volunteers contributed essential data to this Australian first study into the origin of rubbish in our oceans and waterways,” said Brian Hughes, Hunter Local Land Services Aquatic Estuaries Officer.

“More than 33 kilometres of recreational fishing line was collected in our region alone – that’s an alarming statistic for those that use and love our waterways and ocean.”

“Hunter volunteers also found more than 27,000 cigarette butts, and more than 16,000 beer cans and alcohol bottles, which is proof some people still aren’t considering the environmental consequences of their littering seriously.”

The study added 10 million items of rubbish to the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI) Database in a bid to help save our oceans from plastic and debris.

“By understanding where this rubbish is coming from we can work to stop it at the source before it enters the environment,” said Brian Hughes from Hunter Local Land Services.

“The removal and prevention of marine debris remains one of the major environmental issues worldwide, and together, we are making significant headway.

“By identifying the type of rubbish, we have been able to support new initiatives like the NSW container deposit scheme, as well as local projects like the Browns Creek Source Reduction project in Taree.” said Mr Hughes.

Top 10 items recorded into the AMDI Database from clean-up activities in the Hunter region

1    Plastic bits & pieces hard & solid                                       35275              11%

2    Fishing line in metres (Recreation)                                               33240              10%

3    Cigarette butts & filters                                                                  27783              8%

4    Glass or ceramic broken                                                               20282              6%

5    Plastic packaging food (wrap, packets, containers)                      17364              5%

6    Plastic drink bottles (water, juice, milk, soft drink)                         17168              5%

7    Plastic film remnants (bits of plastic bag, wrap etc)                      16665              5%

8    Glass beer stubbies & pre-mixed alcohol bottles                          16162              5%

9    Foam insulation & packaging (whole and remnants)                    14677              4%

10  Straws, confection sticks, cups, plates & cutlery                          13146              4%

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