CULBURRA resident and member of the Ocean Ambassadors South Coast, Shari Armstrong and her husband Shaun Armstrong were shocked when they came across a syringe with a needle attached on their morning walk along Culburra Beach last Tuesday.
Mrs Armstrong was disgusted by her find but relieved it was her who came across the syringe rather than a young child or visitor.
“The problem gets worse when it’s warmer.
“Last New Year’s Day we gathered over 55 kilos of broken bottles from one end of Culburra Beach to the other. It was shocking.
“Finding needles on our beaches is unacceptable. We’re close to peak visitor season. How would this look to visitors when our towns rely so heavily on holiday makers?
“Or even worse, someone receiving a needle stick injury, a child making sandcastles or a baby on a blanket,” Mrs Armstrong said.
Mrs Armstrong and the Ocean Ambassadors South Coast volunteers dedicate many hours to maintaining local beaches.
“I feel good when I do it. It’s a beautiful beach but I’ll clean it up one day and by the next afternoon things go back to the same way it was the day before.
“I am very passionate about these issues. I want to protect our beautiful beaches and the wildlife,” Mrs Armstrong said.
Despite the volunteers’ hard work, Mrs Armstrong believes further action needs to be taken to address littering.
“I would really like to see some management policy, more funding and groups to address the issue.
“I think we need harsher penalties and that means obviously more enforcement out and about, which I know can be hard.
“It really is up to the general public and they need to know that they can’t just litter. We need more people to use the bins. Sometimes there will be piles of rubbish piled up outside of a bin,” Mrs Armstrong said.
She said more volunteers would help.
“Obviously if more people were interested, that would be great.
“I also think that groups like ours should receive funding to at least pay for bags, extendable rubbish grabbers and gloves,” Mrs Armstrong said.
To get involved in the Ocean Ambassadors South Coast, visit oceanambassadors.org.