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Byron Shire
March 3, 2021

Sailing the seas of plastic debris

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Tim Silverwood’s message is to take three pieces of rubbish with you whenever you leave a beach, waterway or anywhere in fact, and you have made a difference. Photo Eve jeffery
Tim Silverwood’s message is to take three pieces of rubbish with you whenever you leave a beach, waterway or anywhere in fact, and you have made a difference. Photo Eve Jeffery

The dependence on single-use disposable items, particularly plastic, is contributing to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, says Australian environmentalist Tim Silverwood.

It’s a floating ‘island’ of trash in the North Pacific Ocean and, in 2011, Silverwood spent three weeks sailing from Hawaii to Vancouver to document and research the gigantic plastic soup with a team of scientists, activists and filmmakers.

As Hawaii sits in the middle of the North Pacific Gyre, Silverwood says it receives ‘a daily dose of trash from the sea’.

Relentless conveyor belt

‘It is literally deposited like a relentless conveyor belt on the windward facing beaches on every tide, swell and storm.’ He also says that the North Pacific Gyre is not unique; five major oceanic gyres in the major oceans of the world all contain high concentrations of plastic.

Fast-forward to 2014, and Silverwood is again on mission, this time raising awareness of the impacts of plastic pollution on oceans and wildlife with a month-long sail from Brisbane to Sydney.

Along with Ocean Ambassadors captain and Canadian adventurer Adrian Midwood, he plans to visit Byron Bay on January 11 as one of 15 community stopovers.

He says, ‘For the Byron Bay events we have teamed up with Positive Change for Marine Life, the Nude Your Food collective and Byron Shire Council to host a community beach clean-up at Main Beach followed by a free screening of the award-winning documentary Trashed, featuring Jeremy Irons, and a presentation at Pighouse Flicks.’

The beach clean-up is on Saturday January 11 at 3pm, followed by Trashed at Pighouse Flicks at 6.30pm. A discussion with Silverwood and Midwood will follow.

See more at take3.org.au.


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1 COMMENT

  1. My friend and I have been walking the Byron Lighthouse track for many years. We start at Wategos and walk to the Pass then along the beach and up to Captain Cook across the road and through the forest to the Lighthouse and back to Wategos for a swim. We regularly pick up rubbish all through the year. Over Christmas New/Year we picked up lots of rubbish, including empty champagne bottles left in the gutter. Problem is Byron Shire Council does not provide enough rubbish bins at Captain Cook, so we often end up carrying the rubbish with us until we find a bin.

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