On the special 30th anniversary of Clean Up Australia Day, on the 3rd of March 2019, SO SHIRE volunteers cleaned up a special wetland site of Sutherland Shire.
Co-founder of SO SHIRE Sarah-Jo Lobwein shares in a video the summary details of our Clean Up Australia Day efforts at Towra Point:
Towra International Wetlands is a significant site for native coastal and intertidal vegetation, wildlife and migratory animals including wading and shorebirds displaced by Sydney’s airport runways and who now rely on this last remnant estuarine wetland ecosystem. Why are these wetlands (mangroves, salt marsh, Sea grasses habitats) important estuarine ecosystems for humans? They are natural filtering systems, physical protection for our coasts, carbon sinks and oxygen manufacturers, and homes, feeding and nursery habitats for native wildlife such as the seafood we like to eat or that form part of the larger foodweb.
183 kilograms, 27+ bags, 2.5 hours, 8 hardworking people – 7 volunteers from SO SHIRE, Plastic Free Sutherland Shire and Sutherland Shire Tangaroa Blue Volunteers and with the amazing assistance of NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service Ranger Hayden who kept us hydrated and safe! Not by weight but by quantity, the load collected was mostly polystyrene pieces, PET bottles and bottle lids, and sadly so much broken up and micro plastic pieces caused by the degradation due to the sun, salt ,water and heat over time (so many large objects just crumbled when we picked them up). More data and images of the day are on our Facebook and Instagram pages, and more as as we audit a fraction of the load for detailed analysis for the Australian Marine Debris Initiative and Clean Up Australia official databases. A huge thank you to the team who persevered in the hot sun, with insects that bite, and gorgeous spiders and their silk webs as strong as steel!
The first ‘Clean Up Sydney Harbour’ event was started by Ian Kiernan, the founder of Clean Up Australia Day, in 1989. In 2019 we need to focus on preventing the source of rubbish entering our environments including our waterways (usually single use items) not just removing what has already accumulated. We can do this by choosing alternative actions and items to single use plastic items we call #swapforthesea solutions, as a business, school, canteen, festival market, community or individual, reducing the amount of single use plastic plastics reaching our waterways, lands and landfill. Check out our website and social media pages or contact us for tips, advice, events and consultancy help on making the switch to a more sustainable future, including swapping out single use plastics.
Sustainable Organisations of the Sutherland Shire (SO SHIRE) is a collective of local groups, individuals and businesses in the Sutherland Shire working towards environmental goals, including clean local environments, sustainability and single use plastic reduction. We conduct local monthly data collections and bigger public clean up events, outreach education and awareness programs, events, initiatives and assist businesses, councils, schools and individuals in their journey to reduce waste and switch to sustainable alternatives to avoid single use plastics.
Plastic Free Sutherland Shire is the campaign and collaborative movement to encourage Sutherland Shire businesses and residents (and visitors) to go single-use plastic free and to keep our local coast, waterways and public spaces litter free. There are many groups and organisations running separate initiatives and this is where we promote and organise our joint events and programs, and the #swapforthesea steps the local community is taking to reduce single use plastic use and pollution.
Sutherland Shire Tangaroa Blue Volunteers is a volunteer group that cleans up Greenhills beach every last Sunday afternoon of the month, gathering data for the Tangaroa Blue Foundation’s Australian Marine Debris Initiative Database