Beach cleaning

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Mornington Peninsula beaches will be solely cleaned by hand for the next 12 months after preliminary investigations found the mechanical rake removed just 40 per cent of litter.

The 12-month trial will determine whether hand cleaning is more efficient, cost effective and better for the environment.

Investigation of beach cleaning at a handful of local beaches last year found the mechanical rake missed up to 60 per cent of litter and sometimes broke plastic items into smaller pieces and reburied them.

The preliminary investigation also found 85 per cent of the material mechanically collected and taken for waste disposal was organic. This resulted in unnecessarily high waste disposal fees and a poorer environmental outcome.

Research shows there are significant environmental benefits to keeping seaweed where it belongs. The presence of seaweed and other organic matter on a beach is a sign of a thriving marine environment, providing vital food and shelter for animals such as shorebirds and other marine species. 

Accumulated organic matter also helps stabilise eroding beaches by trapping sand and providing nutrients to coastal plants. Erosion is a big problem on the Peninsula and we want to see if hand cleaning will help tackle this issue.

Council last week considered the results of the preliminary investigation and voted to trial hand cleaning for 12 months on all Port Phillip Bay beaches along a 30km stretch from Portsea to Mount Eliza.

The trial will run from 1 July 2024, during which time we will be seeking feedback from residents and visitors. This will help us understand how well the new cleaning program is working and whether to make the switch permanent.

Download: Beach Cleaning Council Report - 5 March 2024(PDF, 435KB)
Watch: Council meeting with debate (at 3:37:25)
View: Documentation for Council Meeting on 5 March 2024