The 'strawklers' scouring Australian waters for plastic

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 5, 2019 - Duration: 01:18s

The 'strawklers' scouring Australian waters for plastic

Operation Straw was founded by Sydney resident Harriet Spark at the end of 2017, with the aim of lessening the amount of plastic in the world's oceans.

Saskia O'Donoghue reports.


The 'strawklers' scouring Australian waters for plastic

These are not normal snorklers.

This group in Sydney's harbour calls it... strawkling, as in plastic drinking straws.

The volunteers collect various plastics including straws, bags, and discarded fishing lines.

Operation Straw, as it is known, organizes regular meetups and when Reuters visited there were about 50 snorklers in the water.

Harriet Spark founded it two years ago.

This particular video she filmed of an octopus clutching at straws found her a wave of volunteers.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FOUNDER OF OPERATION STRAW, HARRIET SPARK, SAYING: "So when we started this project, we actually just genuinely wanted to count how many straws and other plastic items we were finding in the ocean.

So I was really surprised at how many people wanted to join in and I think it's because it's such a feel good activity to be able to get in and do something about the problems facing the world.

There's so much doom and gloom out there, for good reason, but when a community can come together and actually take action, it's really powerful." The UN estimates eight million tonnes of plastic enters the ocean each year.

Spark thinks her group is making a difference at home.

They collected over 2,500 straws from one cove last summer and they're finding fewer now.

The group has also convinced 40 local businesses to stop using plastic straws altogether.

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