Sunday, September 25, 2022

Beach people picked up 12,659 pieces of litter off the coast of Perth. His discoveries show that plastic bans are working

Linda Davis started picking up garbage four years ago during a regular beach walk off the coast of Perth and was surprised to see how much rubbish she had found.

She wasn’t the only one, seeing a large group of like-minded community members diligently pick up trash each week in Cockburn Sound, south of Perth.

With all this rubbish going into the bin, Dr. Davis, who works at the University of Notre Dame in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, thought it could be put to better use.

Dr Davis decided to lead a study analyzing 12,659 pieces of litter picked up by the group between November 2018 and January 2021.

That research has shown a dramatic reduction in single-use plastics since restrictions were imposed at the state and federal government levels.

George Brown, left, was one of the members of the group that picked up the garbage for Dr. Davis’ study. ,ABC News: Laura Birch,

“I thought that if I collect it and analyze it scientifically, we’ll have evidence to basically see where the garbage is coming from and if there’s a change in the waste that we get. [over] time,” said Dr. Davis.

50% drop in plastic

Most of the litter the group collected was plastic, but they also found large amounts of fishing-related waste such as rope, fishing lines and bait bags.

A range of beach waste, including pieces of plastic
The group of beach workers collected about 13,000 litter over a period of two years.,ABC News: Laura Birch,

In 2018, the state government banned lightweight plastic bags, while three local governments around Cockburn Sound implemented waste mitigation measures.

Dr Davis said that together in 2020, their research showed there was a 42 to 58 percent reduction in balloons, straws, bottle caps and hard plastics associated with food.

“The requirements for rock lobster fishing changed in 2019, and they had to ditch the pot ropes…

“There has been a 45 percent reduction in the number of rope snags or pieces of rope picked up on the beach in two years.”

bucket full of plastic waste
Dr Davis says policy changes have made a big difference in the amount of waste they are handling.,ABC News: Laura Birch,

Wreckfishwest said that since the start of its ‘Reel It In’ campaign in 2013, 167 kilometers of fishing line, 27,000 hooks and 170,000 bait bags had been disposed of in fishing locations along the Canning-Swan Rivers.

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