More than 250 kilograms of rubbish was hand-plucked from North Wollongong Beach, Wollongong Harbour and Stuart Park on Saturday for World Clean Up Day.
The haul by up to 200 volunteers was collected over just two hours and included items like deflated soccer balls, a broken fan and thousands of cigarette butts.
“I am really worried about the statistics ...that by 2050 there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish, which is quite concerning,” Plastic Free Wollongong spokeswoman Amy Fairall said.
“I notice all the time lots of rubbish around on the all the local beaches.”
Plastic Free Wollongong banded together with other not-for-profits –Junior Chamber International (JCI) Illawarra, Surfrider Foundation, Intrepid Landcare and Green Connect – to stage the mass cleanup.
The Illawarra contingent joined in a global movement which ran simultaneously with 150 other countries.
“The idea of the day was to foster ongoing collaboration between the community, the business community and the organisations that are all doing their bit,” JCI Illawarra director Kevin McDonald said.
The “Let’s Do It!” movement behind World Clean Up Day began in Estonia in 2008 when more than 50,000 people took part in cleaning up the country in just five hours.
Since then the movement of “one country, one day” has spread across the globe.
Mr McDonald said each of the organisations hold regular cleanups and initiatives to make the environment a better place, and hoped to continue relationships with businesses in the future to tackle the “global trash problem”.
According to the group, more than 8,000,000 tonnes of plastic enters the ocean each year and over 100,000 mammals dying yearly as a result.
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