KEEP IT CLEAN: Members of the Ballina 4WD Club and Southern Cross University marine debris researchers spell out a clear message at Ballina’s Lighthouse Beach, using bottles collected from beaches south of Evans Head.
KEEP IT CLEAN: Members of the Ballina 4WD Club and Southern Cross University marine debris researchers spell out a clear message at Ballina’s Lighthouse Beach, using bottles collected from beaches south of Evans Head. Graham Broadhead

Bottles on beaches dumped from ships by high seas litterbugs

IT SEEMS the Do the Right Thing anti-littering message that Australians know so well will have to be translated into at least 10 different languages and sent across the seas.

The Ballina 4WD Club is keen to promote that message to keep our beaches clean, and spelt out a "clean beaches, please" message with rubbish at Ballina's Lighthouse Beach yesterday.

But that's in English, so it may be lost to foreign litter bugs.

Eight members of the club midway through July were given permission to collect rubbish from a restricted area of beach near the Evans Head Royal Australian Air Force bombing range and Bundjalung National Park, and the nearly 200 plastic bottles picked up were given to Southern Cross University's Steve Smith for a research project into the source of marine debris.

While the Coffs Harbour-based National Marine Science Centre project, taking in the area from Coffs to the Queensland border, is in its early days, Professor Smith said it was clear from the sample the 4WD club collected that more than 30% of the plastic bottles came from a foreign source.

There were bottles from 10 countries - which goes against the current theory that 80% of marine debris has originated locally.

Prof Smith said the project had found that more than 50% of beach rubbish is foreign.

While he couldn't say for sure the source of all of it, he said it was clear the vast majority has been disposed of illegally from passing ships.

Website: liveideas.org.au

As an aside, none of the bottles collected so far have had a message inside.



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