Students Do Their Bit To Clean Up Swan River
The Swan River provided the inspiration for Sea Shepherd’s Fremantle team’s August clean up yesterday morning at John Tonkin Park, East Fremantle.
Head of Science, Ailsa Harris, and ten of our students volunteered on the day. We asked Ailsa about their involvement.
“I teach two Year 9 Marine Science classes and we are working through a unit which started with the documentary Blue. Following this, the girls are exploring small things they can do to make a difference to their local waterway, being the Swan River, which inevitably flows into the Indian Ocean”, said Ailsa.
‘Blue’ is a harrowing and beautiful film. It doesn’t flinch from the horrors of plastic pollution, coral bleaching and over fishing. Ultimately though, Blue is about gaining understanding of the pressures the oceans are under.
Ailsa subscribes to a number of environmental groups and enjoys watching environmental films that pop up on Facebook (Demand films), Sea Shepherd being one of them. She said, “The opportunity to be involved with their next campaign on Marine Debris was exciting. I sent the information out to students through the Daily Notices and was surprised to see that many of the girls volunteered to help out.”
The students involved were among the 85 volunteers who helped on the day. From Year 8: Charlize Kazmer, Sophie Farrell and Ashleigh Farrell, from Year 9: Tessa Catallini, Grace Beeson, Kaylee Fong and Grace Beeson and from Year 10: Cosima Biagiona.
Volunteers removed 8,721 pieces of marine debris in just over two hour.
The Sea Shepherd’s Fremantle team said that they were so pleased to see students from Santa Maria College join in on the clean-up. The team said they were inundated early with lots of eager people grabbing bags and heading off and they were delighted to have so many young people join them ahead of International Youth Day.
The marine debris included all the usual items of soft plastic film (1,287), cigarette butts (1,234) and hard plastic pieces (1,112) but they weren’t expecting to find so much rope. Almost all of the rope was small frayed pieces (1,244), showing that our plastic breaks up. Several volunteers spent some time on the sand carefully picking up 325 nurdles, which are the plastic pellets the size of a bead. Sea Shepherd said, “Both sides of the Swan River in this area unfortunately cop nurdles washing up, so we’re always on the look-out for them hiding in the sand or mixed in with weed or vegetation.”
What we do to the oceans today, the next generation will inherit and an ocean full of plastic is just not an option, which is why beach clean ups are so important, along with stopping plastic at the source before it reaches the environment.
A huge thank you to everyone who took part and to all the parents who took their children down to help in the fight again marine plastic pollution.
There will be another clean-up in September. Keep an eye out in the notices as it will be announced later in the week.
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