A BRISBANE storm chaser has shone a light on a different kind of disaster brewing in Australia’s north.
Currently based at Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory for work, Cameron Hines from South Brisbane Storms has been left shocked after witnessing some of Australia’s most pristine, untouched beaches blanketed in rubbish.
He filmed the below confronting footage from a beach at Yirrkala on Sunday.
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The disturbing video shows the coastline littered with domestic debris, from shampoo bottles, hairbrushes and drink bottles to plastic containers, sports equipment, bottle tops, cigarette lighters, ropes, netting and of course the big one – single-use plastic bags. The list goes on.
“This is the time of year when we get the strong southeast trade winds,” Cameron said.
“It’s also the time of year when a lot of the plastic rubbish from Indonesia washes up on the shores here.”
Cameron shared the shocking vision on Facebook, with the hope of raising awareness about the issue.
“It’s good to get the word out because nobody really knows the magnitude of it,” he said.
“Just to give people who might not have much of an idea about how much plastic is in the ocean, here is what the beach at Yirrkala, NT looks like right now.”
Just last month, Cameron teamed up with 41 other volunteers and removed 1.7 tonnes of rubbish from a small strip of sand at Cape Arnhem in a single day.
Some of the beaches in the area are totally untouched by humans, so pristine and protected that they require a permit before you can set foot on them.
Upon further inspection of the debris and plastics collected from the shores in Australia’s Top End, it was found the majority of it originated from the Indo-Pacific region.
Speaking with the ABC in June, Luke Playford, a Sea Country Facilitator at the Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation, said last year was the biggest year on record for marine debris on our coastlines. Locals say this year is worse.
He said rubbish was known to enter the Gulf of Carpentaria with the north-westerly winds that travel from the Indonesian region each wet season.
“When the season changes and we get our dry season and the south-easterly winds kick in, they push that debris onto the beaches on the western side of the gulf,” he said.
Research scientist Dr Frederieke Kroon from the Australian Institute of Marine Science echoed Mr Playford’s statement, saying “the currents and the winds this time of year certainly would contribute to debris accumulating on those beaches”.
A shocking study recently revealed more than 90 percent of Flesh-footed Shearwater chicks living on tiny Lord Howe island, off Australia’s east coast, had plastic in their bodies.
In 2011, one chick was found to have more than 275 pieces of plastic in its stomach – that’s the equivalent to an average human ingesting 10kg of plastic.
The AMCS says there is more plastic waste thank plankton in the Pacific Ocean and estimates there will be more plastic than fish in the world by 2050.