Anne holds a small piece of plastic to demonstrate all it takes to kill a marine animal.
Anne holds a small piece of plastic to demonstrate all it takes to kill a marine animal. Sharyn O'Neill

Dumpers leave Kemp Beach unkempt

PLASTIC cups, toilet systems, Tupperware lids, sounds like your local recycling depot, right?

Well Rockhampton's Anne O'Connor was horrified when she found all these items and a whole lot more washed up on one of the most beautiful beaches on the Capricorn Coast on Saturday.

Outraged, she tied the legs of the jeans she was wearing together and filled them with the waste she continued to discover on her walk along Kemp Beach.

"This is part of the Great Barrier Reef," Anne said yesterday.

"I just couldn't believe it. I go to the beach quite regularly and I've never seen this amount of waste dumped. it's shocking."

Anne said when she asked locals their opinion on the waste, they seemed to feel "powerless" that something could be done.

"You can't be complacent about these things, you can't see a piece of a toilet system sticking out of the ground and just walk around it," she said.

"They said it was pretty much like this all the time. One little piece can cause agony for a marine animal and we've got turtles and dugongs here."

Chairman and Founder of Clean Up Australia Day Ian Kiernan said Anne's effort were a great example for what all Australians should do.

"She's a beaut, tell her well done," Mr Kiernan said yesterday.

"Illegal dumping is a major problem and places like Rockhampton are very valuable to tourism.

"Most of us care but for those who don't, the only thing that will stop them is a fine."

The disposal of plastics into the sea is prohibited under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships.

The law provides for fines of up to $1 million for companies and $200,000 for individuals illegally discharging garbage at sea.

Rockhampton regional Council said while it has no jurisdictional authority below the high tide mark it makes every effort to ensure the region's beaches remain free of litter.

"This is an ongoing issue that faces all coastal communities and council works with a number of community groups and other government departments in holding various clean-up activities along the coast," a spokesperson said.

"Council provides a wheelie bin service and litter and park maintenance to the foreshores of the beaches at the Capricorn Coast.

"The litter and park maintenance is performed by staff according to a set schedule.

"Council provides bins along the foreshore of the beaches in the region and encourages residents to use them, rather than leave their rubbish on the beaches."



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