Plastic pollution has been an issue of ongoing interest to Bookend since we helped co-sponsor a visit from Chris Jordan to Tasmania in 2009, in which he showed his new work on Midway. Since then, our 2011 Envirothon winners have worked with local researcher Dr Jennifer Lavers on this issue, and our 2012 Expedition Class and Skullbone programs are offering schools the opportunity to focus on this topic through our new COASTWATCHERS project (see the videos below and our May 2012 update for more details).
To learn more, Ninna Millikin joined the 2011 South West Marine Debris Cleanup to document the hard work of Matt Dell and his volunteers on Tasmania's remote south-west beaches. The following two video pieces tell that story - one in summary (first clip), one in greater detail (second).
WARNING: the second clip contains some stunningly beautiful footage, but also some stunningly disturbing images.
FULL MINI-DOCUMENTARY (below): WARNING - some images may shock
Despite being a wild and largely unvisited area, found within one of the planet's most significant World Heritage Areas, a vast quantity of marine debris - especially plastic pollution - washes up here from all around the globe.
The Cleanup is made possible by the support and hard work of the sponsors and volunteers listed in the videos. Filming and editing was made possible with the support of the Bookend Trust and the Southern Waste Strategy Authority.
A live blog from the 2012 cleanup can be seen our Expedition Class page, along with information on how your school or community groups can access further information (including teacher guides and student activity kits) and be involved in addressing this problem. Andrew Hughes, our Expedition Class teacher, introduces COASTWATCHERS and explains more in the following clip:
COASTWATCHERS was launched on 16 July 2012 by the Tasmanian Minister for Education, Nick McKim, and environmental entrepreneur Robert Pennicott. Footage of the very first COASTWATCHERS clean-up and survey, hosted by the Woodridge Marine Discovery Centre with students from the Woodbridge School, can be seen here:
A photo-essay on the issue of plastic pollution can be found in PDF format below, including the story of the south-west Tasmanian clean-up and the parallel experiences of the Envirothon winners on Lord Howe Island, as well as information on the problem with microplastics.