Woorim Beach on Bribie Island is in the midst of a significant cleanup operation after approximately 40,000 small biomedia discs were inadvertently released into the ocean from a water pipe breach at the CSIRO Bribie Island facility.
These biomedia discs, resembling the size of M&M candies, are non-toxic and are primarily used in aquaculture research to filter water. They were unintentionally released into the ocean following their entry into a wastewater well.
Upon detection of the spill, CSIRO quickly initiated measures to contain further discharge and is coordinating closely with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to manage the situation.
Environmental advocates, like the representatives from the Bribie Island Environmental Protection Association, have expressed concerns about the potential harm to marine life. It’s believed that creatures, ranging from seagulls to dugongs and various fish species, might confuse these plastic discs for food. The upcoming migratory bird season adds to the urgency of the cleanup efforts, with many birds expected to forage along the shore.
Local residents have been at the forefront of the cleanup operations, spending hours collecting these biomedia discs. Their actions underscore the broader implications of such incidents on the environment and the shared responsibility to address them.
The Moreton Bay Council has augmented the ongoing efforts by deploying beach cleaner machinery. Their initiative, combined with the community’s proactive measures, has resulted in the collection of thousands of these plastic discs.
Furthermore, the community is organising a drop-off/collection point for these biomedia discs at the Edwin Schrag Lookout. Volunteers and locals are encouraged to bring their collected biomedia for tallying, and at the same time, enjoy the scenic spot known for whale and dolphin sightings. The Department of Environment and Science has requested assistance in coordinating the reconciliation of the week’s biomedia collection effort to determine the overall impact of the spill.
This event serves as a poignant reminder of the intricate balance between human endeavors and environmental protection. As the community comes together in response, they await more comprehensive measures from CSIRO to prevent such incidents in the future.