Affectionately known as The Prom, Wilsons Promontory National Park in the Gippsland region is a nature lover’s paradise with spectacular granite mountains, open forest, rainforest, sweeping beaches and coastlines. It’s a special place for many, but as Parks Victoria Ranger Tamara Vekich told me, The Prom’s beaches are not exempt from plastic pollution, with Cotters Beach being identified as a prime area for litter deposits from the ocean.

“I was staggered at the amount of rubbish we found during our Clean Up Australia Day event” said Tamara. “In one hour a group of 15 people collected over 1000 small bits of plastic and nearly 500 larger items”.

Plastic collected from Cotters Beach, Wilsons Promontory.
Plastic collected from Cotters Beach, Wilsons Promontory.

“I’m personally very concerned about the excessive use of plastic and how much of it ends up in the ocean” she told me. Her pet hate is balloons and balloon ribbons, “Balloons released at celebrations find their way to the ocean where animals can ingest them or get tangled and die”.

As well as trying to reduce her own plastic consumption and general waste, Tamara decided to team up with Friends of the Prom volunteers and other Parks Victoria staff to run monthly litter clean ups at Cotters Beach (generally on the last Thursday/Friday).

The types of litter collected is entered into the database operated by the Tangaroa Blue Foundation; an Australian not-for-profit organisation that is dedicated to the removal and prevention of marine debris in our oceans.

Volunteers sorting and recording information about plastic pollution at Cotters Beach.
Volunteers sorting and recording information about the litter collected at Cotters Beach, Wilsons Promontory. The data is added to Tangaroa Blue Foundation’s database to help find solutions for plastic pollution.

“The data we contribute from Cotters Beach at the Prom can help develop a better picture of litter movements around Australian beaches and to ultimately develop solutions to stop the flow of litter at the source” said Tamara.

“The success of programs like these depends on the passion and dedication of individual volunteers. If you would like to be a part of the solution to plastic pollution, we would love to have you come along. Every individual matters and everyone can make a difference. And, what a great incentive to get out in the park!”

Parks Victoria Ranger Tamara Vekich at Cotters Beach, Wilsons Promontory.
Parks Victoria Ranger Tamara Vekich at Cotters Beach, Wilsons Promontory.

For more information, or to express interest in volunteering in this project, please contact the team at Tidal River Information Centre on 8427 2122 or email Parks Victoria Ranger Tamara Vekich on tamara.vekich@parks.vic.gov.au

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