The Albany Marina has never looked cleaner after a group of volunteers spent the morning scouring the rocks for rubbish.
Sea Shepherd Albany-Great Southern and the City of Albany hosted a beach clean-up along the Albany Peace Park foreshore and the marina last Sunday.
Later that same day, the WA Government announced plans to fast-track the ban on single-use plastics by four years.
By the end of 2022 plastic utensils, plates, cups, straws, polystyrene food containers, produce bags and helium balloon releases will be fully phased out.
Students from Great Southern Grammar and passionate locals collected bags upon bags of rubbish off the foreshore while the Albany Dive Centre descended to the seafloor to collect trash.
After the group returned from an hour of collecting beer cans, fishing nets and plastic wrappers, the mounds of rubbish were tipped out onto a tarp and counted for research and recycling purposes.
Allied fight against plastic
Sea Shepherd volunteer Jamie Kiddle said the beach clean-up was a timely reminder of just how much plastic was in our environment.
“It’s really important, especially with the younger generation, to see what impact these seemingly small things are doing to our environment,” he said.
“The foreshore is an area I like to come down to, but you just see how much rubbish is actually accumulating here.
“We walk along and see a small piece of rubbish but if you get 20 or 30 people walking along and collect that small amount of rubbish you end up with a rather large pile afterwards.”
Plastics researcher Dr Harriet Paterson gave an educational lecturer at the Museum of the Great Southern about the impact of microplastics on the environment and how we can make better choices as consumers.
“We are cleaning it up but what we actually need to be doing is stop putting it in, so getting rid of single use plastic is fantastic but we need to go beyond that,” she said.
“It’s about the purchasing stage, we need to stop buying the things causing the plastic, that’s the only way we are going to get the producers and multi-nationals to change how they do things.”
WA fast tracks plastic free goal
WA Environment minister Amber-Jade Sanderson said her Government would be working with retailers, hospitality and community groups to support their transition to plastic free.
“The plastic bag ban has been embraced by retailers and the community; this is the next step of the journey to reduce landfill and ensure a healthy environment,” she said.
“For most of us, this will only involve making small changes to our behaviour by adopting alternatives to single-use plastics and choosing to reuse.
“Some people require single-use plastic items to maintain their quality of life.
“We have formed a Plastic Straws Working Group to consult with the disability, health and aged care sectors to ensure continued supply to those who need them.”