Ocean Crusaders crew and volunteers have removed more than six tonnes of rubbish from the shores of several Southern Moreton Islands in only four clean-up days as they work to keep the coasts clean.
Ocean Crusaders is a not-for-profit organisation with a mission to protect our oceans from waste and plastic by changing people’s behaviours.
The organisation was a recipient of a Community Conservation grant under Redland City Council’s Community Grants program.
Ocean Crusaders founder and general manager Ian Thomson said the most common piece of waste found was polystyrene.
“30 to 35 per cent of the items are polystyrene which is a big problem considering it weighs nothing,” he said.
“We also pick up a lot of bottles and cans because people are throwing them off boats.”
On the first clean-up day, the crew removed 1.32 tonnes of general trash and 440kg of tyres from around Garden Island.
A further 1.44 tonnes was collected on the second day from various Southern Moreton Bay areas.
Russel Island was the target for the third trip, with one tonne of trash and 29 tyres.
The final day of the project saw the volunteers working on the southern tip of Long Island Foreshore, bringing in 1.36 tonnes of debris.
Mr Thomson said people were forgetting that every drain lead to the ocean or our water drinking supplies.
“You would like to think it is the minority, but when you find that much rubbish you would have to think it must be a lot of people doing this,” he said.
“People need to stop blaming the lack of bins from the council as to why they leave their rubbish around.”
Mayor Karen Williams said the grant had enabled Ocean Crusaders to carry out clean-up days on the island coastlines.
“Ocean Crusaders Foundation has a track record of cleaning beaches and islands to make wildlife safe, removing tonnes of debris in the process,” she said.
“They worked with the community and volunteers to make these beaches cleaner and safer for birds and other coastal creatures that feed on the coastline.”
Councillors Julie Talty and Mark Edwards met with volunteers at Weinam Creek boat ramp when they came ashore with the results of the Long Island clean-up.
“It is quite confronting when you see it come in on the boat,” Cr Talty said.
“Plastic waste has a significant impact on our waterways, harming our naturally wonderful bay and creek environments.”
Mr Thomson said it became a domino effect when people started thinking someone else would clean up their rubbish for them.
“It is not the humans that suffer, it is the marine life that suffers and then we wonder why there are no animals around,” he said.
“It is incredibly hard to clean where we are, and it would be so much easier if we just stopped it at the shop by making smarter choices.”
Ocean Crusaders has been cleaning up around Southeast Queensland for seven years. Head to Ocean
Crusaders Facebook to book your spot for clean-up days and visit oceancrusaders.org to donate.