North Stradbroke Island was given a good cleaning after 71 volunteers and 14 organisations joined forces at Amity Point for Clean Up Australia Day on Sunday.
Divers, kayakers and beachcombers all joined in for the effort to rid the well-loved area of 253kg of rubbish and reduce the dangers to local wildlife and visitors.
Event organisers Greg Grimmett from Stradbroke Wildlife Rescue and Reef Check Australia volunteer Blair Jedras said they hoped the clean-up would encourage people to keep the area tidy all year round.
A team of 23 divers collected discarded fishing line and other marine debris from the area, including more than 100
kilograms of fishing gear, glass, metal and plastic. The underwater clean-up highlighted the issue of marine debris,
which often is out of sight and out of mind. Divers hope their efforts will help to protect marine wildlife and raise
awareness about the effects that debris can have on the marine ecosystem.
Clean up dive participants Dave Lewis and Dave Biddulph from Manta Lodge & Scuba Centre also helped to free a
pregnant female wobbegong, who was hooked through the dorsal fin and entangled in line.
"It was a nice feeling to see
something swim away and know that we helped not only to pick up rubbish, but helped save a life," Mr Lewis said.
On land and among the mangroves, clean-up volunteers collected more than 30 bags of rubbish that had washed up or
been left behind by visitors, weighing in at more than 150kg.
This included everything from ropes, glass and hard plastic
items to three unexploded bullets, which were immediately turned over to authorities.
Rubbish collected by clean-up volunteers was sorted and carefully recorded.
Data will be used in a University of
Queensland research project on the impact of debris on Moreton Bay sea turtle populations.
General Manager for Reef Check Australia Jennifer Loder said Amity Point was a popular spot and reminded everyone
to keep it clean.
"Most marine debris comes from land, so this could be
simple as picking up someone else's rubbish next time you see it in a gutter or at the beach," Ms Loder said.
The clean-up was supported with funding from Healthy Waterways, Redland City Council, Sibelco and Stockland as
well as in-kind support from Manta Lodge & Scuba Centre, Queensland Ambulance, Redland Quality Meats, Reef Check
Australia, Straddie Sand Mining Community Fund, Stradbroke Wildlife Rescue, Straddie Watersports, Twinnie's Pelican
and Seabird Rescue, University of Queensland, University of Queensland's UniDive club and Volunteer Marine Rescue.