The sun shines down on the golden sand as the blue ocean water laps at your feet. A soft breeze blows gently as you turn your face towards the sky to soak up the beach vibe.
You are perched at Manly Cove in Sydney, one of Australia’s picturesque beach settings, but as the sun shimmers off the top of the water, there lurks a sinister evil - plastic pollution, and in particular, straws.
To begin this war on straws - in summer 2018 a galant group of volunteers meet every Saturday morning at the beach for what was to be a 3 month campaign to clean up the underwater.
In just 12 weeks, the group collected more than 2000 plastic straws, which in turn spurred on forty local businesses to make the switch away from single-use plastic straws.
It is now spring of 2020 and Operation Straw is here to stay.
In their 2 years of existence, so far they have run over 50 events with over 600 volunteers, retrieved over 4000 plastic straws from a 200m x 30m area of the ocean and now hundreds of people (called the Strawkle Squad) jump into the ocean to help clean it up.
From January 2019, they record all other marine debris they find in the Australian Marine Debris Database. This database was created so organisations can share the details of their cleanups in a standardised and consistent way. Since 2004, more than 15 million pieces of data (aka rubbish) has been entered!.
How can you get involved I hear you ask.
They usually hold events once a month in winter and twice a month in summer. To keep up to date with event announcements, make sure you’re following them on Facebook and Instagram.
The Strawkles fun usually kicks off at 9 am. The event begins with a short briefing and then a 45 minute Strawkle.
When the Strawkle is complete, the rubbish is counted and the plastic straws are counted. Everything is logged in the Tangaroa Blue Marine Debris Database.
For more information, please check this out -