Keeping our fragile coastal ecosystems healthy and vibrant preserves the unique natural beauty of Australia.
Since the 1970’s, many coastal regions of this country have been regenerated from bare rock walls and flat sand to the diverse sand dunes and functioning ecosystems of today. Healthy meadows of sea grass reach out from the coast supporting further vibrant ecosystems under the water.
These natural assets and features of our local environment make Australian coastal areas a great place to live, work and play. However, being at the end of the cities drainage systems (which flow into the ocean) means that litter, cigarette butts and chemicals that people dispose of incorrectly will end up in our coastal ecosystems, beaches, dunes and ocean.
How to do it now!
There are many ways you can act to minimise our impact and help protect our coast:
Dispose of litter correctly (such as cigarette butts which contain chemicals that don’t break down).
Observe the signs that signify conservation areas.
Where possible observe the vegetated dunes from the beach (as these are very fragile)
Refrain from using chemicals, cleaners and fertilisers in a way that they can easily enter the storm water system when it rains.
Pick up after your dog, as animal droppings are rich in nutrients that can pollute sensitive environments.
There are many ways you can contribute to the growing ecological health of our local coastal areas, beaches and ocean.
Plant coastal natives in your garden
By planting coastal natives, you are aligning your garden to local conditions and adding to the biodiversity of your local ecosystem.
Join the local Dunecare team
Many coastal areas have a committed group of residents who conduct regular events to protect native vegetation and stop the spread of weeds like gazania and sea spurge in the reserves, dunes and parks. Find your local group and volunteer to help out.
Join a Coastcare group
There are several Coastcare groups that may be within walking distance or accessible via public transport. Visit the Coastcare website to find a group in your area.
Some other groups caring for our coast include:
Surfrider Foundation's C.A.R.E program forms an effective medium for the community to express environmental concerns and act upon making changes which will fit into our C.A.R.E. program Conservation, Activism, Research and Education. Surfrider Foundation has issues and programs continuously being coordinated throughout the world, and is operated by a vast network of volunteers who strive to protect and enhance the natural coastal environment.
OceanWatch Australia is a national environmental, not-for-profit company that works to achieve sustainability in the Australian seafood industry by protecting and enhancing fish habitats, improving water quality and advancing the sustainability of fisheries through action-based partnerships with the Australian seafood industry, government, natural resource managers, business and the community.
Why is this action important?
Ecosystems and environments that support our life are under stress from the cumulative pressure of thousands of small impacts, a chemical here, a cigarette butt there. Some of our day-to-day decisions can either contribute to polluting our oceans, or contribute to conserving our oceans.
Coastal areas, estuaries and ecosystems provide the breeding and feeding grounds for many fish, marine animals and birds. Polluting them with chemicals, litter and animal effluent makes them less healthy and vibrant. Unhealthy waters can lead to unhealthy people.
Reducing the amount of pollutants and litter entering our waterways will, in turn, reduce the impact on our coast. It saddens us to see marine life suffering as a result of plastics or pollutants which have been disposed of incorrectly. You can feel happy doing your bit, where you can, to protect marine life and the oceans.