It gives beach-combing a whole new meaning: 2,427 cigarettes and 69kg of rubbish was picked up this month at the ‘Seaside Scavenge’ in Coolangatta.
The Travelling Trash Troupe — a consortium of not-for-profit organisations working to improve the environment — hosted the event to clean up the beachfront while also increasing awareness around plastic pollution.
Seaside Scavenge, a member of the Travelling Trash Troupe, has been running scavenging events for the past three years.
Founder and CEO, Anna Jane Linke, said this was their first event held in Coolangatta.
“We started the (Seaside) Scavenge in 2015 in Sydney and we’ve done 33 events up and down the coast since then,” Ms Linke said.
“The ultimate goal of these clean ups is to engage an audience who wouldn’t usually go to a typical organised clean up.
“We’d like people to think about their daily consumption and hopefully think twice before using coffee cups or plastic straws and bottles.”
Anthony Hill, founder of Plastic Pollution Solutions — another Travelling Trash Troupe member — said raising awareness of plastic waste was important for the future of Australia’s environment.
“Annually, Australia produces roughly 10,000 tons of plastic waste. When you think of how light plastic is, that’s a lot of waste ending up in our environment,” Mr Hill said.
“Around five to 10 per cent of all our plastic waste ends up in the ocean, which is obviously something we’d like to change.”
The Coolangatta event follows the recent ban on plastic bags as supermarkets aim to cut down on plastic use.
Mr Hill said a lot of Australians don’t understand how severe the issue is, but suggests small changes can have a big impact on the environment.
“The easiest way to reduce plastic waste is to avoid using the biggest four culprits of our waste – plastic bags, straws, bottles and coffee cups,” he said.
“Even with the plastic bag ban, the new bags are still plastic, just thicker and people only use them two or three times before throwing them out.”
The Travelling Trash Troupe aims to return to the Gold Coast again next year.