TWO years ago the west end of Anvil Beach, on the southern side of the Nullaki Peninsula, was the worst place on the State’s south coast for finding discarded microplastics.
A cleanup by the local chapter of Sea Shepherd Albany-Great Southern filled a ten-litre bucket with 3-5mm microplastics, adding up to hundreds of thousands of pieces.
A year later the situation improved, after Nullaki residents began regularly picking up discarded plastics during their walks.
“This year our volunteers collected only 1300 pieces,” group coordinator Jamie Kibble said.
The collections are sorted and results sent to the Tangaroa Blue Foundation.
Ideally, beach cleanups would occur monthly but are currently held every two months, due to a lack of available event coordinators.
The main targets are beaches which face open ocean currents, such Anvil and Mutton Bird, and some near Nanarup.
Asked whether there is any real point cleaning up beaches, Jamie was in no doubt. “It absolutely does make a difference,” he said. “Look at the positive changes at Anvil Beach, for instance.” Jamie said there was immense pressure on ocean wildlife due to activities such as massive krill factories operating in the Southern Ocean, which impacted the marine foodchain.
As a result humpback whales near Albany had been observed feeding on fish, and birds found with stomachs full of plastic.