Independent and FREE - 2021 Best Online Publication

Surprise discoveries on our shores during big clean-up

Independent and FREE – 2021 Best Online Publication (Qld Country Press)

Surprise discoveries on our shores during big clean-up


Large debris from Brisbane hauled off our beaches as community rallies to help

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A Sunshine Coast beach protection group has faced its most challenging clean-up day, after weeks of heavy rain and storms.

The 7000-strong The Beach Matters Group took to the sand with other community groups on March 6 to help clear debris and rubbish.

Teams at Coolum, Mudjimba, Maroochydore, Alexandra Headland, Mooloolaba, Point Cartwright, Buddina, Bokarina and Moffat Beach tackled the influx of waste, including 3m foam blocks that had washed up from broken pontoons in Brisbane.

The group sifted through piles of driftwood and collected hundreds of bags of plastics in an effort to prevent the rubbish from washing back out to sea and endangering marine life.

Group founder Rachael Bermingham said the exercise was a great success.

“This was by far the most challenging clean-up,” she said.

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“We literally had volunteers with kitchen strainers sifting the sand from the tiny styrofoam balls that had broken away from the broken pontoon blocks.

“The first thing we prioritised was getting those off the beach and into a secure area where they could be picked up by Clean Up Australia teams, surf lifesavers or council.

A host of volunteers converged on beaches up and down the Sunshine Coast, to clear debris and litter.

“We dragged logs and large timber out of the water and from the shoreline up past the high-tide mark so they wouldn’t float back into the water and risk the lives of swimmers, surfers, lifesavers and other beachgoers.”

A large piece of debris is taken off the beach.

The Beach Matters teams were joined by other groups in the beach clean-up, including Mooloolaba Surf Life Saving Club, Immanuel Lutheran College, board-riders clubs and the Kawana Chamber of Commerce.

There was still plenty to do, according to Rachael.

“There are still many members of the community out there, collecting rubbish and foam still washing up onto various beaches,” she said.

They were also braced for yet another round of clean-up activities on weather-ravaged beaches, with more rain and wild weather expected.

“The clean-up from all accounts will take some time,” Rachael said.

“However, it’s wonderful the community continues to dig deep by taking a bag each time they go to the beach and spend some time in helping to make our ocean and beaches clean and healthy.”