Don’t rubbish our beaches

FOR most people a day at the beach is all about the sun, sand and the sea.

For Shari and Shaun Armstrong of Culburra Beach it’s all about rubbish.

Every Sunday for the past few months, the pair, often joined by other members of a group called the Responsible Runners Jervis Bay have been picking up rubbish from the region’s beaches.

“We collect on average 15 kilograms of rubbish every Sunday,” Mrs Armstrong said.

The Armstrongs recently organised the first annual Clean the Bay Day.

On December 14 they were joined by 11 volunteers from several wildlife and conservation organisations who spent about four hours cleaning up Long Beach North.

The group collected almost 40kg of rubbish.

Over a two-kilometre stretch of sand they picked up 29 plastic cups, 23 aluminium cans, 341 pieces of plastic, 144 plastic food wrappers, 39 balloons with strings attached and various other items.

Mrs Armstrong said the volunteers came from all walks of life but had one goal, to clean the beach and protect marine life.

As a marine science student with Southern Cross University, Mrs Armstrong said she hoped the clean-ups would help raise awareness of the impact rubbish had on marine life.

“Jervis Bay and surrounds is a haven for many species and people need to be made aware of the consequences these huge build-ups of debris have on wildlife,” she said.

“Even a beach that looks clean and pristine will often have a huge deposit of pollution, either from beachgoers, or carried in on ocean currents.

“People need to be educated that lazily throwing out a piece of rubbish can have disastrous effects on a species,” she said.

The rubbish collected is catalogued with the data submitted to Tangaroa Blue’s Australian Marine Debris Initiative.

The Responsible Runners group meets at Ocean Street beach car park in Culburra Beach every Sunday at 4pm. They visit other beaches on the first Saturday of the month.

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