Our big beach clean up in Byron
Under the stunning east coast sunshine, dozens of Wake Up! and Byron Bay Beach Hostel guests and staff took to Belongil Beach for one massive beach clean up. Together with Take 3 For The Sea Byron Bay and the Byron Shire Council, we had one simple aim: pick up rubbish in order to help protect our planet.
Despite Belongil Beach seeming to be in picture perfect condition, we were astounded to have collectively picked up 68.5kg – and 1,374 individual pieces – of rubbish. Much of this was small pieces of micro plastics which can be devastating to marine life, as well as 108 bottle cap lids, 102 cigarette butts, 4 pairs of undies, 1 chair, 1 car battery, and – believe it or not – 9 plastic bags of dog poo!
It was a stark realisation of just how much rubbish gets left behind to enter our beaches, and a reminder of how easy it can be to help make a difference.
An estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic enters the ocean every year, and when soft plastic enters the sea, many animals digest it believing it to be food. In our beach clean up, our plastic-free posse picked up 357 pieces of soft plastic!
There’s also the devastating impact of plastics to our environment: instead of breaking down, they continue to break into smaller pieces to create microplastics and nanoplastics. In the process, these plastics release harmful greenhouse gases, contributing to our planet’s changing climate (Take3).
How To Be A More Eco-Friendly Traveller
As adventurers and world wanderers, you may find yourself asking: How to be a more conscious, sustainable traveller? From offsetting carbon-emissions and staying longer in any one place, to taking reusable bags and water bottles instead of plastic alternatives, there’s a whole heap of ways to be more eco-friendly when travelling. However, our beach clean up has taught us that no matter where you are, anyone can easily help to create a positive impact with the simple act of picking up rubbish where you see it.
As Take 3 tells us: “Take 3 pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beaches, waterway or natural spaces, and you have made a difference.”
So, next time we’re having a sun-soaked stroll on the beach, cruising down a cool city laneway, or chilling out with a picnic in the park, let’s remember the big difference we all can make simply by saving a few pieces of rubbish from entering our oceans.