Moreton Bay community groups urge vigilance on marine debris
Thu 14 March 2013
A coalition of community groups is urging Brisbane residents to be more vigilant about protecting the popular marine playground of Moreton Bay from rubbish and debris.
The coalition - called the Lifeline for Moreton Bay Project - today released the results of its recent land-to-sea clean up of the beaches, coastal areas and underwater environments of Moreton Bay, conducted as part of this year's Clean Up Australia Day event.
Lydia Gibson, from the environmental education charity Wild Mob, said the results highlighted the impacts that Brisbane lifestyles were having on habitats for turtles, dugongs and other marine life.
"In just a few hours work, we collected more than 124 kilograms of rubbish from beaches, bays and underwater environments around Moreton Bay, including plastic bottles, packaging, cigarette butts, fishing line, old toys and other common household items," Ms Gibson said.
Jennifer Loder, General Manager of ReefCheck Australia said,"The results provide a clear snapshot of how Brisbane lifestyles are impacting on the popular marine playground of Moreton Bay and what the dangers are for the turtles, dugongs and other creatures that call Moreton Bay home."
Jacki Boyce, Marine Debris Campaigner from the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) said close to 40 per cent of all marine turtle deaths in Moreton Bay each year were caused by marine debris.
"Turtles often starve to death after ingesting household rubbish or drown after becoming entangled in discarded fishing line and other debris," she said.
"Marine debris is an overwhelming issue for our oceans, with a very simple solution. We can each choose to take a more caring approach to protecting our marine wildlife by making positive choices in our daily lives," said Reef Check Australia General Manager Jennifer Loder.
The Lifeline for Moreton Bay Project was formed by the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) and includes the groups Wild Mob, Reef Check Australia, the University of Queensland's 'Turtles in Trouble' project, and Healthy Waterways.
The coalition is urging ocean lovers across South East Queensland to take five simple steps to protect Moreton Bay and other local waterways.
1. Drink from your sink. In 3 years, the number of plastic bottles that littered South East Queensland waterways increased by 50%, and a total of 165,000 bottles were removed.
2. Just 'bag it'. Carry your own reusable bags instead of packing your purchases in single-use plastic bags that last forever.
3. Bin your butts. Take a moment to dispose of your cigarette butt responsibly. This is the number one item in coastal clean ups.
4. Recover your line. It's not always possible, but take an extra moment to unhook that snagged line. Fishing line takes an average 600 years to decompose in the environment.
5. Pick it up. Even if it's not yours, think about where that pesky piece of rubbish might end up. Then pop it in the bin.
For more information and images:
Jennifer Loder, ReefCheck Australia, 0402284681 firstname.lastname@example.org;
Lydia Gibson, WildMob, 0414873231, email@example.com
Jacki Boyce, AMCS, (07) 3846 6777
The Lifeline for Moreton Bay Project is supported by the Newman's Own Foundation. Visit www.savemoretonbay.org.au for more information on the project.