Overseas bottles washing up on North Coast beaches

NORTH Coast beaches are under a plastic onslaught from abroad, with a Southern Cross University (SCU) study finding 50% of bottles washed up at the Solitary Islands Marine Park in Coffs Harbour came from overseas.

Southern Cross University associate professor Steve Smith is looking at where plastic in between Tweed Heads and Coffs Harbour washes in from.

"We are aiming to collect at least 1000 bottles from beaches between Coffs Harbour and the Tweed River," Professor Smith said.

"We hope that the study will both raise awareness about the impacts of marine debris and provide information to help manage the problem locally, regionally and globally.

"We are particularly interested in samples from remote beaches."

The Solitary Islands Marine Park bottles had washed up from China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Spain and the Netherlands.

The study will also address how the bottles ended on the beaches.

Angourie Community Coastcare president John Webber said in their last plastic pick up at Shelley Beach they found up to 10% floated in from abroad.

"About 1% of bottles had foreign labels," Mr Webber said.

"But it is hard to know about plastic and other materials because they have no distinguishing features."

Over the Christmas period the group did a 10 week study to find what the biggest contributor to waste was.

Mr Webber said they found fast-food was the biggest offender.

He said people did not throw their rubbish in the bin when they visited the Angourie Blue Pools and other national park areas.

"It's strange, they come to enjoy the natural area and then rubbish it," Mr Webber said.

"It's not that the rubbish is in a bin and then gets blown out.

"People leave it there."

They also found the amount of rubbish increased during holiday periods.

Mr Webber urged people to be mindful about throwing their rubbish in the bin and what products they consumed.

SCU is looking for help from beach goers to gather washed-up plastic drink bottles.

To help SCU gather their research go to http://www.liveideas.org.au and look for the Plastic Pollution on North Coast Beaches project link.