Don't let your litter bug our Reef

Published: 15/10/2015

Volunteers from across Townsville will get their hands dirty this weekend by taking part in the Great Barrier Reef Clean-up.

The local event between Rowes Bay and Pallarenda on Saturday October 17 is part of a larger initiative of marine debris clean-ups across 12 sites from Cape York to Bundaberg.

The initiative has been organised by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) in partnership with the Australian Marine Debris Initiative, Tangaroa Blue Foundation, Eco Barge and Reef Guardian Councils.

GBRMPA Chairman Dr Russell Reichelt said the Great Barrier Reef was big, beautiful and diverse, but it faced real pressure from marine debris.

“Reducing marine debris at a local level can have a positive impact across the whole Great Barrier Reef region,” said Dr Reichelt.

“Marine debris can harm marine life, pose a navigational hazard and smother coral. It can enter through waterways and drains and eventually make its way out to sea and into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

“Marine debris can travel great distances so it’s important we minimise the amount of rubbish entering through the Townsville region, especially now ahead of the wet season. This is a great opportunity for the whole community to get involved and help tackle the problem.”

The Great Barrier Reef Clean-up is funded through the Australian Government’s Reef Trust as part of a larger initiative to minimise the source and occurrence of marine debris in the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

According to the Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2014, plastic bags, discarded fishing gear, plastic and glass bottles, rubber thongs, aerosols and drink cans are commonly found in the Reef region.

Between 2008 and 2014, about 683,000 individual items of marine debris, weighing over 42 tonnes, were collected from the Great Barrier Reef region’s beaches by volunteers in the Australian Marine Debris Initiative.

For more information or to register for the clean-up, visit or email

Name: GBRMPA media
Contact: (07) 4750 0846