Reef clean-up to wrap up Plastic Free July

31 July 2020

The Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environment Management, Trevor Evans, today took part in a marine debris clean-up activity on Snapper Island with the Tangaroa Blue Foundation to see the Morrison Government’s $5 million Reef Trust investment in ReefClean in action. 

The ReefClean project aims to remove and prevent marine debris along the Great Barrier Reef region. 

“Visiting Snapper Island today to see ReefClean in action was a fitting way to mark the end of Plastic Free July. Our team collected over 110kg of marine debris, including various plastic fragments, polystyrene materials, plastic bottles, discarded fishing gear and scrap metal. 

“This pollution is a significant risk to the Great Barrier Reef’s ecosystems and wildlife including turtles, dugongs and seabirds. This environment is home to several vegetation communities and woodland, sea and other bird species, as well as being the traditional sea country of the Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people. 

“We all have a role to play in reducing the waste that ends up in our precious marine environment. That’s why the Morrison Government is investing in clean-up activities like ReefClean to address ocean pollution in a practical way. 

“Since early 2019, over 2,552 volunteers have worked on 291 clean-up activities to remove more than 25.3 tonnes of debris from the Reef. Everyone involved is to be congratulated. 

“Through the National Waste Policy Action Plan, we are working with all states and territories to phase out problematic and unnecessary plastics by 2025, reduce the total waste generated in Australia by 10% per person by 2030, and recover an average of 80% from all waste streams by 2030. 

“We have supported new packaging targets that increase recycling, increase recycled content in packaging and reduce unnecessary single use packaging. 

“We have also successfully phased out microbeads in Australian products because of the damage they cause to marine life, the environment and human health. 

“Together, these actions, and the hard work of organisations like the Tangaroa Blue Foundation, are working to secure the clean environment and oceans that all Australians rightly expect”, said Mr Evans. 

For more information about ReefClean visit: ReefClean.org