Neil explaining citizen science beach litter audit methods

Stopping plastic pollution in its tracks

As a Brighton Sea Scouts Venturer, Sam Perkins noticed an alarming amount of microplastic appearing at the Holloway Bend Beach in Brighton. Concerned with the impact these microplastics would have on the life in Port Phillip Bay, Sam was inspired to protect the bay as his project in pursuit of the Queen’s Scout Environment Award. The question was: where to start?

Sam was encouraged by Port Phillip Baykeeper Neil Blake to get involved in our Be the RE-Generation program. Together, Sam and Neil developed a program for Brighton Sea Scouts to use scientific methods to regularly monitor the beach for microplastics and sand movement.

EcoCentre volunteers conducting plastic litter audits on the beach
EcoCentre volunteers conducting plastic litter audits to track litter to its source. 

Sam spent more than 90 hours doing beach litter audits at Holloway Bend beach and wrote a 34-page report on the mentoring program and data analysis. 
Since then, Sam has inspired other Scouts to take action on microplastic pollution in the Bay; what started as one person’s passion project has now transformed a whole generation of youth leaders. 

Over 30 Scouts groups across Victoria now participate in the EcoCentre’s Street2Bay microplastic audits program, tracking plastic litter on the streets to help identify the source of microplastics in the Bay. Litter data from different areas, such as residential streets, industrial estates, and sporting grounds, is being tracked, analysed, and compared. This data will form an evidence base to inform the EcoCentre’s advocacy, helping to stop plastic pollution at its source.

EcoCentre volunteers analysing microplastic samples
EcoCentre volunteers analysing microplastic samples from Street2Bay microplastic audits. 

Sam’s partnership with your Port Phillip Baykeeper has already mobilised hundreds of youth leaders in Scouts Victoria to protect the thousands of endemic species that call our Bay home. Imagine our impact if we could support thousands more to do the same.

Neil with EcoCentre volunteers as they conduct a beach litter audit
Your Port Phillip Baykeeper and some community volunteers, using EcoCentre-designed citizen science beach litter audit methods.

We rely on your donations to design citizen science methods, analyse litter samples, and engage in advocacy.

$100 will fund one hour of microplastic analysis, carefully measuring samples to quantify the amount of plastic pollution in the Bay and track it backwards to prevent it at the source. 

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Boon Wurrung Foundation Logo The EcoCentre acknowledges the Kulin Nations, including the Yalukut Weelam clan of the Boon Wurrung language group, traditional owners of the land on which we are located. We pay respects to their Elders past and present, and extend that respect to other Aboriginal and Elder members of our multicultural community.