Dedicated anglers got dirty for Clean Up Australia Day 2021 with an army of 452 volunteers working to clean up tonnes of rubbish from more than 20 waterways across Australia in an enormous community effort from the country’s only fishing conservation charity OzFish Unlimited.
Their combined work removed tonnes of rubbish from the local waterways including several dumped cars, tyres, blankets, thongs, hundreds of plastic bottles and cans, cigarette butts, plastic bags and even a lawn aerator, and plastic toys.
It’s estimated about two million tonnes of plastics enter the oceans from rivers and creeks each year. Sadly, the majority is a result of human behaviour and Covid-19 has without a doubt seen an increase in single-use items.
OzFish CEO and Founder Craig Copeland was disappointed but not surprised by what they found.
“When litter is dropped on land, the wind and rain carry it to our waterways where it is very difficult to remove,” said Mr Copeland.“It’s incredible seeing so many people take part and doing their bit for Australia’s fishing future.“Everyone should be very proud of what they have achieved, and their hard work should be applauded. They have done themselves and their community proud,” Mr Copeland said.
Local community volunteer Sophie Pryer participated in the clean-up at this year’s Richmond River on the NSW North Coast for OzFish and saw first-hand the difference that can be made when the community simply picks up the rubbish.
“Cleaning up someone else’s rubbish is never a nice task, but unfortunately someone has to do it.
“At the end of the day, it’s a great feeling working together and looking back at how one waterway can be improved by a few hours of people power,” said volunteer Sophie Pryer.
Thanks to the new partnership with the Tangaroa Blue Foundation all of the litter OzFish collected has been sorted and counted and will be entered into the Tangaroa Blue Australian Marine Debris Database which is used by researchers to determine the best way to combat marine litter.
OzFish will also use the information to investigate new solutions recreational fishers can use to reduce litter entering local waterways.
Member or not, you can support OzFish to create better habitat for better fishing. You can still give back to your waterway by donating to OzFish at any BCF – Boating Camping Fishing store across the country.