Piles of Face Masks Are Washing up on NSW Beaches!

27 May 2020 1 Share

Nick Carroll

Senior Writer

COASTALWATCH | NICK CARROLL

Masking the Problem – Notl

If you’re surfing somewhere between Newcastle and Sydney’s northern beaches today, you might have found a packet of COVID-protector surgical masks on the beach. Or maybe 10.
The masks, mostly still in their plastic packaging, have been washing up all day.

They’re part of 40 containers of freight, including medical gear, household appliances, and building materials, that fell off a vessel called the APL England somewhere well off Sydney over the weekend, after it apparently suffered an engine failure in the heavy seas.
 
The boat is now in the Port of Brisbane anchorage being investigated by Australian Maritime.
 
Meanwhile, its cargo is spreading all over our beaches.
 
We talked with Mandy Marechal, of Take 3 For The Sea, an organisation we’ll all know. She was on the scene at Soldiers Beach, where she and others had just rescued a tiny loggerhead turtle stranded in the dune. (They called it Neve, and it’s now on the way to a recovery centre.)
 
She says that after the storms, there’s now a huge amount of microplastic fragments in the beach debris along with the facemasks — older stuff that may have been around for months or longer.
 
Microplastic particles are hard to spot in the wrack. But a drop like the APL England’s can be an opportunity to bring the problem to an audience. “When we have a situation like containers going overboard, it tends to focus attention on the issue of ocean-borne plastics,” Mandy told us from the Soldiers Beach track.
 
“People hear about this one big event and it can open their eyes to the broader issues. Often it’s the kids educating their parents.”
 
She says around 70 per cent of what came off the boat will be lost in the water column. Who knows how much of it will end up in tiny fragments in some sea creature’s gut.
 
Meanwhile, here’s a few of Take3’s idea about dealing with what you find today and in coming days:
 
Respect your own safety, especially if you can’t really identify the item of rubbish.
 
Take everything you can off the beach and dispose of it safely.

Take a pic and tag Take3 so they can build a data pile. This helps in encouraging governments to keep acting on ocean-borne garbage. (The NSW Government bears primary responsibility for this cleanup.)


Tags: (create Alert from these tags)

blog comments powered by Disqus
Features
Swell Alert: A Powerful South and SSE groundswell is about to Rock the East Coast

Swell Alert: A Powerful South and SSE groundswell is about to Rock the East Coast

Get ready, the East Coast is about to rumble.

18 Jan 2021
A Ripping New Rage Vid, Pete Mel's Stoke Is Everyone's Stoke, and Maverick's on Skis? What?

A Ripping New Rage Vid, Pete Mel's Stoke Is Everyone's Stoke, and Maverick's on Skis? What?

This Week In Surfing: Ten Things from Surfing & the Internet on the Week That Was January 15 2021

15 Jan 2021
Photos and Highlights From the '21 Burleigh Single Fin Festival

Photos and Highlights From the '21 Burleigh Single Fin Festival

The Most Core Surf Comp of the Year

4 13 Jan 2021
Recent

A Ripping New Rage Vid, Pete Mel's Stoke Is Everyone's Stoke, and Maverick's on Skis? What?

This Week In Surfing: Ten Things from Surfing & the Internet on the Week That Was January 15 2021

15 Jan 2021
Photos and Highlights From the '21 Burleigh Single Fin Festival

Photos and Highlights From the '21 Burleigh Single Fin Festival

4 13 Jan 2021
Margaret River Starts 2021 on the Pump

Margaret River Starts 2021 on the Pump

12 Jan 2021
WSL's Horror Run Continues, Mason Finally Meets the Reef, and Waves Glorious Waves

WSL's Horror Run Continues, Mason Finally Meets the Reef, and Waves Glorious Waves

1 9 Jan 2021
Nick Carroll: The Big Surf Stories of This Stupid, Glorious Year

Nick Carroll: The Big Surf Stories of This Stupid, Glorious Year

4 3 Jan 2021
Latest News

A Ripping New Rage Vid, Pete Mel's Stoke Is Everyone's Stoke, and Maverick's on Skis? What?

This Week In Surfing: Ten Things from Surfing & the Internet on the Week That Was January 15 2021

Margaret River Starts 2021 on the Pump

One of the better summer swells in recent memory hits the Southwest

WSL's Horror Run Continues, Mason Finally Meets the Reef, and Waves Glorious Waves

This Week In Surfing: Ten Things from Surfing & the Internet on the Week That Was January 8 2021

Popular This Week

A Ripping New Rage Vid, Pete Mel's Stoke Is Everyone's Stoke, and Maverick's on Skis? What?

This Week In Surfing: Ten Things from Surfing & the Internet on the Week That Was January 15 2021

Padang Comes to Life as Late Season Swell hits Bali

Golden hour at perfect Padang Padang - it's been a good week to be in Bali... Photo: Childs

Video: The Fizzlot kids – SW Grom Bash

A stoked out portrait of Australian Junior Surfing in the year 2018.

Go to Top