Every year, 8 MILLION tonnes of plastic enters the ocean. And this number is growing... Many people around the world are trying hard to find solutions to this man made tragedy that has significant impacts on the wildlife of the oceans, but also on us.
So where do we start? Of course, we can phase out as much waste from our life as possible, by refusing to use single use items. Consumer demand talks and this is what is pushing supermarkets and other shops to take action by reducing their use of plastic bags, cups, straws, etc. But there is one thing all researchers, experts and activists would agree on: we need to keep on raising awareness and provide education about the rubbish that we create, as well as what happens with it afterwards. “Knowing is caring” some people say. But how do we raise awareness?
Last Sunday, Sustainable Surf Collab, Panamuna and Plastic Free Coolangatta collaborated to organise a vibrant encounter at Queen Elizabeth Park (Coolangatta Beach) for the celebration of World Environment Day. To start on a good note, a yoga session was offered by Liz from Plastic Free Coolangatta. We ask you to take a second here and give them a follow on Instagram! Why? Because it shows your support of getting rid of plastic at the home of Snapper Rocks, the renowned wave that makes the Gold Coast a World Surfing Reserve (WSF). When such a famous neighbourhood take action to tackle an issue, it becomes an example for the other surf destinations of the world and this is the ripple effect that we want to see happening right?
Surfers are some of the humans with the highest connection to the ocean, due to the love of the waves and the time spent floating in the salty water. No surfer wants to float in a plastic soup or polluted waters. Therefore, surfing comes with at least a few responsibilities (Don’t worry, it still happens at the beach!). This is why the yoga session was followed by a beach cleanup.
Beach cleanups make a difference by removing rubbish that either comes from the ocean or that could enter it in the near future. As a matter of fact, Tangaroa Blue has been allowing people to upload the results of their beach cleanups to then see the big picture about all Australian cleanups counted together. According to this platform, 10 393 539 items have been removed from Australian beaches, representing 918 tonnes of rubbish as a result of nearly eleven thousand cleanups runned by over a hundred thousand volunteers.
In addition, we, at SSC believe that beach cleanups have the power to carry a message as well as to provide an experience. This raises awareness for each and everyone of us who is participating, hearing about and witnessing beach cleanups. Taking action is a catalyst for change, even more than simply knowing about a problem. We bet most of us have the best intentions but struggle to always apply the wisest decisions in our daily lives. This is why raising awareness, again and again, has the power to fuel the shift that is needed for our oceans, our marine life, our health and our surfing experiences.
We are hoping to see you joining our next cleanup! In the meantime, let’s spread the word about it, raising awareness within our families, groups of friends, workplace and favourite coffee spot and restaurant. And if you don’t feel like talking about it, simply refusing & reducing waste, especially single-use plastics*, will already go a long way! ;)
We also want to say a huge thank you to the volunteers that joined us, as well as to The Fresh Chai Co. and Ground Control Coffee for the generous collaboration that kept our vollies energised and warm!
* Over 75% of what is removed from our beaches is made of plastic. (Tangaroa Blue)
By Mahi Paquette