MILESTONE TRIP: Eco Barge Clean Seas celebrated its 150th clean-up trip to the Whitsunday islands on Monday. Pictured are: Andrea Scharneck, Simona Paganetto, Savina Cornacchia, Ninni Tarrant, David Young, Tony Dunn, Skye Briggs and Libby Edge on the Eco Barge.
MILESTONE TRIP: Eco Barge Clean Seas celebrated its 150th clean-up trip to the Whitsunday islands on Monday. Pictured are: Andrea Scharneck, Simona Paganetto, Savina Cornacchia, Ninni Tarrant, David Young, Tony Dunn, Skye Briggs and Libby Edge on the Eco Barge.

Eco Barge makes 150th trip

ECO Barge Clean Seas reached a milestone this week, running its 150th clean-up trip since the launch of the Whitsunday Marine Debris Removal Program in July 2009.

Eco Barge founder Libby Edge said the 150 clean-up trips had resulted in the removal of 115,542kg of marine debris, thanks to the support of the community, volunteers, partners, sponsors and supporters.

"To see how much our volunteer register has grown over the years has been remarkable," she said.

"It gives me tremendous pride how our community has embraced Eco Barge and [how] all our volunteers are so dedicated to helping protect our islands and turtles from marine debris."

Skye Briggs, a volunteer on Monday's trip, said it was amazing that "no matter how many times we go out to the south-east facing beaches there is still so much marine debris to collect".

"Imagine the state of our islands if there was not an on-going marine debris removal program in the region," she said.

This latest trip was thanks to a partnership with the Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing, which has provided support for the Marine Debris Removal Program and the Whitsunday Turtle Rescue Centre.

Ms Edge said it was therefore extremely fitting that the trip also included the release of 'Bunny', a juvenile green turtle, rescued on September 4.

"To have another success story for the Whitsunday Turtle Rescue Centre and being able to return this beautiful turtle back to the marine environment really is what we are all about," Ms Edge said.

"We clean up the marine debris to prevent the devastating impacts that litter can have for our local marine life, and with our Turtle Rescue Centre we are able to directly care for sick and injured marine turtles - it really is a dream come true."

Members of the public who come across sick or injured sea turtles are asked to call 1300 ANIMAL (264 625).

For more information about Eco Barge Clean Seas, the Whitsunday Marine Debris Removal Program or the Whitsunday Turtle Rescue Centre, visit http://www.ecobargecleanseas.org.au.


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