Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Beach Clean for Ocean Conservancy

The end of the first training week of phase 114 saw all volunteers and staff embark on one of our biggest beach cleans yet. This time however we didn’t just collect the rubbish from the beach, but recorded data on what constituted the trash for the Ocean Conservancy.

Each year towards the end of September, the Ocean Conservancy holds a big Coastal Cleanup. They try to engage as many different people and organizations around the world as possible to clean shorelines. Tipped off by ex-volunteer Zeljka Fistrek, GVI jumped at the chance to join in and add extra value to something that we already see as a worthy practice in the park. Seeing as our volunteer workforce is much lower in September, we held off until October to conduct the event, still within the guidelines of the Ocean Conservancy.

Due to an unfortunate set of circumstances involving mechanical breakdown and gasoline deficiency on the part of the park rangers, we have only just collated our final totals of what we actually collected. As it turns out, it was a goliath effort on everyone’s part, so thank you to all the volunteers that were there!

Rubbish counting on base with Tom, Helen, Yannie and Rich

In total we collected 235kg of rubbish from the beach, encompassing a 2 mile section from the river mouth to mile 16. As the collection at the time showed, it was great to get that far down the beach as the last ½ mile to 16 was the most heavily littered. Included in this rubbish were 692 drinks bottles, a staggering 294 shoes and 66 empty oil bottles, among others. We also found a disturbing amount of fishing paraphernalia, a concern for the National Park and also the nesting turtle population.

One of the categories that the Ocean Conservancy included on their data sheet was the most interesting item found. So naturally the only thing to do was hold a competition for strangest rubbish item. After a close vote, Greta won with her (very random) wooden stake complete with handle that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the hands of a vampire slayer! Naturally we also had the usual collection of doll parts, swimming flippers and mudflaps (!?).

The whole morning was a great success and you could see an immediate impact on the whole stretch of beach giving instant rewards.