BINNING a couple of pieces of rubbish every time you visit a waterway may seem like a minor act but to a group of ocean advocates it can help make a world of difference.
Environmentalist and Take 3 co-founder Tim Silverwood and his friend, Adrian Midwood of Ocean Ambassadors are currently taking part in a 12-stop sailing journey of coastal communities from Brisbane to Sydney to raise awareness about the affects of plastic pollution.
The ocean-minded pair stopped into Forster on Friday (January 24) along with Newcastle yachtsmen Ivan MacFadyen whose story went viral when he told The Newcastle Herald about his horrific discovery of a severe absence of marine life and large amounts of rubbish floating out to sea during his yacht race between Melbourne and Osaka last year.
Mr MacFadyen's story received international attention and after learning about the project, he and his wife Kari joined Tim and Adrian on their vessel, the S.V Moana in Coffs Harbour.
“It’s (project) a great start. It might seem insignificant to some but we can only hope that it grows,” Mr Macfadyen said.
Mr Midwood said the tour wasn’t about distilling fear in people but more about making them aware of the negative effects of plastic pollution towards our oceans and wildlife.
“It is one of the largest problems around at the moment,” he said.
“Our focus is not to make people think the sky is falling were not trying to be negative about it but we can make a conscious choice to fix it.
“If people support products that work with organisations to clean our beaches up it can change the way things are.
“The labels on products a lot of the time are confusing but people need to realise what they are buying and should look to see what organisations are doing the hard work.”
Mr Silverwood believes that if the South Australia container deposit scheme was rolled out across the country it would dramatically change people’s actions.
“I’m very supportive of changes to legislation. We need to introduce a bottle and can refund system like South Australia, everywhere,” he said.
“We need to recognise that if we incentivize people to do the right thing it can work.”
A large group of locals and visitors took part in an hour long clean-up last Friday morning around the rock wall, beach and dunes at Tuncurry.
The clean-up resulted in the collection of more than 400 cigarette butts, 45 plastic bottles, more than 100 glass bottles, 50 aluminium cans and over 60 plastic bags.
Groups also collected several amounts of fishing line, bait bags and 45 pieces of disposable cutlery and plastic straws that were mainly found strewn across the rock wall and on the beach. Mr Silverwood said the rubbish collected weighed in at approximately 70kg.
As part of the tour, Mr Midwood is also promoting an innovative Japanese technology which converts plastics into oil and is used to fuel their sailing vessel for the trip.
What you can do to help
Three things we shouldn't be using in order to be more eco-conscious
1. Single-use plastic bags – take reusable bags to the shops instead.
2. Single-use PET plastic bottles – stainless-steel and corn-plastic water bottles are available.
3. Products packaged with polystyrene and styrofoam – there is no viable way to deal with these plastics once they are thrown away