The NSW Greens have warned whales, dolphins, seabirds and other marine life are threatened by dangerous marine debris after 80 shipping containers went overboard off NSW.
Volunteers, locals and holidaymakers have been cleaning up large quantities of waste coming ashore from Fingal Bay to Jimmy's Beach and Nelson Bay at Port Stephens over the weekend. There are media and Facebook reports of plastic, nappies, toilet-paper packaging, thousands of red foil lolly wrappers and clocks ending up as rubbish on beaches.
Greens NSW Marine Spokesperson Justin Field said the NSW Government should ensure that plastic and other marine debris lost overboard are urgently cleaned up and the owners of the ship, YM Efficiency, are held to account.
“The loss of 80 shipping containers into the ocean may have been an accident but the NSW Government has to ensure immediate action to reduce the risk to people and the environment,” he said today.
“The community is already stepping up but now it’s time for the government and the company to fast-track the clean-up.
“The evidence suggests the shipping company has botched salvage operations. The NSW Government is responsible for this debris once it’s three nautical miles off our coast or closer and clearly that is now happening. The NSW Government must tell the community how it will contain and remove this waste that is now washing up along the NSW coast.
“It’s unacceptable that massive quantities of plastic and other goods lost overboard have been left to pollute our oceans. We know plastic is particularly damaging to marine life, killing and injuring sea birds, whales, dolphins and turtles.
“This week in Parliament I’ll be challenging the NSW Government on the adequacy of its response and what action is will be taken to ensure the company is held accountable.
“The NSW coastline is a very busy maritime route, we should have excellent emergency response protocols but it looks like they have either failed or are grossly inadequate,” Mr Field said.