Fitzroy Island gets hands dirty to help the Reef

Published: 29/10/2015

On Sunday more than 80 volunteers from across the Cairns region took part in the first Great Barrier Reef Clean-up.

The local event was one of 12 marine debris clean-ups from Cape York to Bundaberg organised by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) in partnership with the Australian Marine Debris Initiative, Tangaroa Blue Foundation, Eco Barge Clean Seas Inc. and Reef Guardian Councils.

The Fitzroy Island clean-up collected 180 kilograms of debris over three hours, including plastic food packaging, plastic bags and cigarette butts.

The items collected contributed to the Australian Marine Debris Initiative, taking it more than five million pieces of recorded marine debris data for Australia.

GBRMPA Chairman Dr Russell Reichelt said the great response reflected the long-term commitment and love the Queenslanders have for the Great Barrier Reef and its health.

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

"The rubbish and litter collected over the weekend no longer poses a risk to marine life, and won’t smother coral or become a navigational hazard.

"The clean-up also raised awareness and reminded people not to let their litter bug our Reef. What a great result!

"Thank you to all the volunteers and supporters for helping make the first Great Barrier Reef Clean-up such a success.”

Tangaroa Blue Foundation coordinator Heidi Taylor said data collected from the clean-ups would now be analysed and entered into the Australian Marine Debris database.

“With this information we can help create a comprehensive overview of the quantity and types of marine debris found along the Australian coastline and start to identify trends over time,” Heidi said.

“It enables us to identify hot spots along the Great Barrier Reef, as well as the type and origin of the rubbish collected to help create source reduction plans with the local community and government, thus working towards preventing the litter from ending up in the ocean in the first place.”

For more information about the Great Barrier Reef Clean-up, visit www.gbrmpa.gov.au.

The Great Barrier Reef Clean-up is funded through the Australian Government’s Reef Trust.


Name: GBRMPA Media
Contact: (07) 4750 0846