Photos | SO SHIRE and Sea Shepherd Marine Debris beach clean-up a huge success

Armed with bags and buckets an army of volunteers made it their mission to beautify Sutherland Shire's coastline on Sunday.

Their efforts were part of a clean-up campaign run by Sustainable Organisations (SO) SHIRE and Sea Shepherd Marine Debris with the common goal to boost ocean health.

Under winter sunshine volunteers from the Kurnell community and beyond collected bags and bags of trash that had made its way into the sea.

Plastic chairs, bike frames and a tub of tennis balls were some of the junk collected by adults and children.

SO SHIRE is a community driven network of individuals, businesses and organisations, all working under the main focus of turning the tide against single use plastics.

This year was the second collaborative annual clean-up, supported by more than 70 volunteers of all ages from the area and greater Sydney,

Event leader Sarah-Jo Lobwein is the founder of Plastic Free Sutherland Shire, which is the first focus initiative of SO Shire, in partnership with Sea Shepherd Sydney.

She said it was inspiring to see such a great turnout.

"Together we managed to collect more than a massive 205 kilograms of litter," she said.

"How much, not just weight, of litter is important, as many plastics are very light but are littered in numerous numbers.

"Many were very surprised with not only the amount of litter collected in just over an hour, but also the variety of the litter type.

"They left Silver Beach and Bonna Point reserve a cleaner place."

A total of 103 single use plastic drink bottles, 542 food packaging pieces and 455 cigarette butts were among the big collections.

An unusual find included a batch of old metal ATM compartments, a time capsule geocache and plastic glitter.

"Not all litter is on purpose, therefore SO SHIRE aims to educate people to swap out single use plastic items for reusable or compostable packaging instead," Mrs Lobwein said.

Trash was then sorted in recyclable and non-recyclable items. They were entered in the Tangaroa Blue Foundation's Australian marine debris database, which gives scientists, government agencies, communities and organisations data on the state of marine debris collected by volunteers for education, policy or research purposes.

The next event, Seaside Scavenge, on December 8, is a festival at Dunningham Park Cronulla, where people can earn 'scavenger trash tokens' for pieces of litter. These tokens will be accepted at Northies and at the pop-up markets.


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