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Beach Patrol Australia

Home > Melbourne > Beaches | Volunteering | Walks
by Debbie Lustig (subscribe)
My work has been published in The Age, The Herald-Sun, The Australian, The Big Issue, Australian Birdlife, The Bark (USA), Eureka Street, Overland and The Australian Jewish News.
Published January 4th 2015
Cleaning up our beaches, one hour at a time
plastic pollution, rubbish, marine pollution, beach, trash, volunteer, community,
3182 Beach Patrol group photo


Marine pollution affects us all. Discarded food wrappers, cans, bottles and cigarette butts - and plenty more - often end up on our beaches, creating a serious hazard for marine mammals, birds and fish. Many animals ingest plastics thinking they're food and die from blockages or malnutrition. Litter also looks pretty terrible.

The bad news is, this is increasing.

The good news? There's something we can do to help.
plastic pollution, rubbish, marine pollution, beach, trash, volunteer, community,
Beach patrollers on the job


Beach Patrol Australia is a community response to plastic pollution, centred around Port Phillip Bay. Groups - named for their beach and postcode - do a monthly, one-hour beach clean, followed by a convivial coffee together.

Beginning in 2009 with '3206 Beach Patrol Middle Park', the movement now numbers 14 groups around the bay, taking in Williamstown to Port Melbourne, then south to Parkdale.

Participants receive a t-shirt and cap in their Beach Patrol group's unique colours, which ensure passersby see the group effort. Some even join in on the spot!

st kilda, plastic pollution, rubbish, marine pollution, beach, trash, volunteer, community,
Looking for rubbish on the rocks


You're encouraged to bring your own gloves, bags and 'pick-up' stick, but these are also available.

Many Beach Patrol groups also run [LINK=https://www.facebook.com/BeachPatrolAustralia?fref=ts]Facebook Pages, which encourage interaction and information sharing.

When you arrive, you register your name, collect gear and then it's up to you. You can pick up objects big or small and go as fast or as leisurely-paced as you wish.

st kilda, plastic pollution, rubbish, marine pollution, beach, trash, volunteer, community,
At the weigh-in


Afterwards, rubbish is weighed and disposed of, then it's time for a well-earned cuppa at a local cafe. Doing something positive for the environment was never so easy.

st kilda, plastic pollution, rubbish, marine pollution, beach, trash, volunteer, community,
'Interesting' finds like this are - fortunately - rare


Beach Patrol is a unique, volunteer organisation which helps everyone to keep their local beaches free from rubbish. This is no idle wish.

st kilda, plastic pollution, rubbish, marine pollution, beach, trash, volunteer, community,
All rubbish is weighed


In 2014, one of the longest-running groups, St Kilda (3182) Beach Patrol, had 20 to 60 people per month collecting a total of 1205 kilograms of trash.

Beach Patrols do inspiring and very gratifying work that teach us all a thing or two about proper rubbish disposal.

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Why? Because fixing plastic pollution is possible
When: Various
Where: Fourteen beaches around Port Phillip Bay
Cost: None
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