Australia, News, Waste & Resource Recovery

Government invests to clean reef of single-use plastic

Five new digital waste disposal campaigns funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust will focus on the dumping of single-use plastic waste which ends up on our beaches and in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.  The Government has invested $5 million in the ReefClean initiative.

The campaigns will launch across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in early June and follow Tangaroa Blue Foundation’s ReefClean workshop series that ran in May online also focusing on key items of litter that are impacting the Great Barrier Reef.

As a result of the workshops the online campaigns were developed to drive behaviour change and to help reduce litter.

“Although COVID-19 has changed the way we deliver clean-ups around the Reef, these campaigns provide an opportunity for everyone to be involved in stopping marine litter at its source,” Environment Minister Sussan Ley said.

“Whether you’re a fishing fanatic, a coffee connoisseur or dog owner, we all have a part to play in helping keep the Great Barrier Reef clean and reducing the amount of waste in our environment.”

Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef Warren Entsch, said ReefClean was already delivering some “fantastic” results.

“ReefClean has organised more than 270 community clean-ups and engagement activities resulting in the removal of more than 24 tonnes of debris from the beaches of the Great Barrier Reef in its first full year alone,” Entsch said.

“The campaigns will see this great work go digital and include the physical monitoring of litter hotspots around the reef in Cairns, Townsville, Gladstone, Yeppoon, Ingham, Port Douglas and Boyne Island.”

The Australian Marine Debris Initiative Database shows single-use plastic items are among the top 10 items of litter impacting the reef and waterways across Australia.

“From rejecting the barista’s offer of a single-use plastic coffee cup lid with a ‘flat no’ to ditching the cigarette butt flick and picking up your dog waste, there’s a lot you can do to stop the spread of litter around our waterways,” Tangaroa Blue CEO Heidi Tait said.

“With the tide turning on single-use plastics, we’re determined to give all Australians the tools and information they need to be litter heroes.”

The campaigns will launch across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram include:

  • Lose Ya Lid– encouraging people to give a “flat no” to single-use plastic coffee cup lids;
  • Ditch the Flick– encouraging smokers to bin their cigarette butts instead of flicking them;
  • Look After your Tackle– encouraging fishers to reduce fishing line litter;
  • Litter Hero– encouraging people to seek out bins in public spaces;
  • Don’t Dump on our Reef– encouraging dog owners to bag and bin their dog’s waste.