Fallen trash destroys pristine site

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Nearly 300 cigarette butts and 72kg of rubbish were collected by Sea Shepherd at Ocean Beach in Denmark last weekend.

The group held a beach clean-up at the popular tourist spot and was stunned by the volume of rubbish found.

Among the trash collected from the Ocean Beach area, the group collected 280 cigarette butts and a used syringe from a lookout.

Sea Shepherd marine debris co-ordinator Chloe Kobel said 70 per cent of trash collected came from Ocean Beach lookouts, including McGeary’s Rock, Black Hole and Sinker Bay.

“This is trash that is deliberately left behind and given that it’s only metres away from the water with multiple marine birds and native animals occupying the coastal bush land, this is a very lazy and reckless behaviour,” Ms Kobel said.

“The large amount of cigarette butts just flicked on the grass along the channel was also shocking.”

The list of trash found at the weekend included 300 pieces of plastic food wrapping, 200m of fishing line, 1200 microplastics, 121 glass bottles, 108 cans and 46 plastic bottles.

“Most shockingly, though, was the discovery of a used syringe at the Sinker Bay Lookout,” Ms Kobel said.

“We are sincerely grateful that one of our volunteers discovered it first and not a curious child.”

Ms Kobel noted the group used its own biohazard waste kits to dispose of the syringe because there were no biohazard bins near the beach lookouts.

Denmark Shire president Ceinwen Gearon said the amount of trash found in the Ocean Beach area was disappointing.

Signs on public beaches discourage the public from smoking, but the Shire has not yet implemented a policy to ban smoking completely on public beaches.

In 2016, the City of Albany endorsed a public health plan looking to restrict smoking on playgrounds and public beaches by the end of 2018-19.

The Shire of Denmark is reviewing the no-smoking policy.

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