Our enchanting underwater creatures throughout the Southern Great Barrier Reef will experience a reduced amount of plastics and other debris after Fitzroy Basin Association Inc. worked in partnership with Cleanwater Group, Local Marine Advisory Committees, Reef Guardian council, and the community to secure a Local Action Community Reef Protection grant to install 9 Drain Buddies!

What’s a Drain Buddy you ask?

Drain Buddies are a heavy-duty basket, installed into our roadside stormwater drain holes. They only allow water to pass through, whilst collecting the tossed fast food packaging, plastic bags, ciggy butts, and other dodgy things that run down the stormwater drains and into the oceans. The ‘local action’ grant, funded by the partnership between the Australian Government Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, supported the installation of nine of these Drain Buddies in key locations in Yeppoon, as well as our neighbours Rockhampton and Gladstone.

Southern Great Barrier Reef

The project is being delivered by Fitzroy Basin Association (FBA) with support from the Capricorn Coast and Gladstone Local Marine Advisory Committees.

Holly Lambert, FBA’s Community Partnerships Coordinator says this project demonstrates an upstream solution to a downstream problem and the data collected from these sites will provide unrivalled insight into what we are throwing away and where it comes from. It will also lay strong foundations for the subsequent success of source reduction campaigns in Yeppoon for years to come.

“This project is exciting for us, as it signals the beginning of a better understanding of human behaviour when it comes to waste in our local communities. From this point forward, we can verify the biggest types of litter and begin targeting ways to reduce their presence. Reducing marine debris is the aim – but we need to examine why, where and how litter is created to effectively change behaviour,” Holly said.

When is the Drain Buddy emptied and what happens to the rubbish?

The content the Drain Buddies accrue will be emptied quarterly (first time September 2019). They are then sorted, analysed and recorded in the Australian Marine Debris Initiative database. Created in 2004 the database enables volunteers and organisations running beach clean-up events to collect the data on what they find. It can then be collated into a standardised national database on marine debris. To date more than 13 million data entries have been input into the system creating a overview of what debris has been affecting our reef.

Plastic Free Southern Great Barrier Reef

You don’t need to be part of the Drain Buddy project to add or access data to and from the AMDI database. “The AMDI Database has an open access policy enabling scientists, government agencies, communities and organisations to request data on marine debris in Australia for educational and research purposes. The data submitted is always owned by the contributor. However, the Australian Marine Debris Database provides one place for all data to be housed, providing everyone involved in the marine debris issue one place to both access and submit data on marine debris.” Tangaroa Blue – Australian Marine Debis Initiative.

If you’re an avid beach walker who takes a bag to collect rubbish every walk, by all means input your data and contribute to the overall data analysis and help our our Southern Great Barrier Reef. Download this Data Sheet, keep your info in one place and then load it up to the site. AMDI data-sheet And if you need any help gathering or uploading the data to the site visit the AMDI How to Videos and Manuals page to easily work it all out.

Look out for a Yeppoon Drain Buddy update in September, when Capricorn Coast LMAC members enjoy their #lovethereef duties and get their hands dirty emptying collection baskets. Have you spotted the installations? Let us know what you think in the comments below or join our community on Facebook and Instagram.

11.09.2019 UPDATE! We conducted our first cleanout and pick through. Hear all about it!