Chasing litter off South West beaches

Jacinta CantatoreBunbury Herald
Dolphin Discovery Centre volunteers Rohan Webb and Axel Grossman are part of the centre's Storm Chaser group.
Camera IconDolphin Discovery Centre volunteers Rohan Webb and Axel Grossman are part of the centre's Storm Chaser group.

An environmental group plans to recruit more local heroes to help tackle marine litter along South West beaches.

The Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre’s Storm Chasers received a $5000 grant as part of the Keep Australia Beautiful Council’s Community Litter Grants scheme and members plan to put the money to good use.

The Storm Chasers were among 14 groups around WA to receive a share in more than $37,000 as part of Keep Australia Beautiful Week.

Centre conservation manager and Storm Chasers founding member Jan Tierney said the grant would help buy a trailer to collect and dispose of rubbish and to go to festivals and events to raise awareness of environmental programs.

Funds will also go towards buying equipment including high-vis vests and rubbish bags to give to Storm Chasers.

“At the moment there are lots of people out there collecting rubbish and disposing of it themselves, which is fantastic,” she said.

A bag of rubbish collected near Dalyellup Beach after a recent storm.
Camera IconA bag of rubbish collected near Dalyellup Beach after a recent storm.

“We ask them to continue collecting litter, but to also take photos of the rubbish they collect and send them to us.”

Information about the location, type and quantity of rubbish will be uploaded to the National Marine Debris database which can help environment groups reduce recurrent litter types and locations.

Storm Chasers are also asked to look for marine creatures in distress, which often increase after big weather events.

“After the recent winter storms our beaches were covered in rubbish,” Dolphin Discovery Centre volunteer and Storm Chaser member Axel Grossman said.

Axel Grossmann and 7-year-old son Noah collecting rubbish near Dalyellup Beach after a storm had washed litter onto shore.
Camera IconAxel Grossmann and 7-year-old son Noah collecting rubbish near Dalyellup Beach after a storm had washed litter onto shore.

“After storms there can be 10 times more rubbish than normal, which is where the name of the group comes from.”

A dolphin rescue last year attracted more than 4.2 million views on the centre’s YouTube channel, helping to raise awareness of the huge problem ocean litter can cause marine animals.

“We’ve been doing beach clean ups for more than 15 years, but when someone sees an animal being affected they become really aware of the problem,” Ms Tierney said.

Environment Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson congratulated the groups on their commitment to tackling litter.

“These grants support valuable grassroots projects which are the backbone of litter prevention and education in Western Australia,” she said.

Other grant winners included Green Teach South West and Transition Bridgetown.

Dolphin Discovery Centre volunteers Rohan Webb and Axel Grossman are part of the centre's Storm Chaser group.
Camera IconDolphin Discovery Centre volunteers Rohan Webb and Axel Grossman are part of the centre's Storm Chaser group.

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