A RUBBER chicken, hard hats and a photocopier. It may seem like the punchline to a corny joke, but these everyday items have been found washed up on Gladstone's beaches.

CQUniversity's Dr Scott Wilson on Wednesday revealed the findings of the 2012 Marine Debris Survey, which examined items washed ashore from Gladstone Harbour.

While scientists aren't surprised at the results of the three-part survey, Dr Wilson has found some items to be potentially damaging to the environment.

"The rubbish can potentially have an effect on the environment," Dr Wilson said.

"Once there is an item in the environment animals could ingest it, especially if the item mimics a food source."

Beaches, creeks and islands in Gladstone Harbour were examined during the 12-month survey.

This is the second survey conducted on Gladstone Harbour and its surrounding waterways.

The first was in 2011 - and Gladstone hasn't improved its record on dumping rubbish since then.

Dr Wilson also conducted a drift card survey to track debris in waterways.

The army protecting our region

EVERY three months for the past year, an army of environmental volunteers have stepped up to get their hands dirty.

Sometimes they are found on Facing, Fisherman's or Chinaman islands in Gladstone; other times they can be scouring scrubland on Rodd's Peninsula at Turkey Beach.

Last year a group of 600 Conservation Volunteers Australia members pulled on their gloves for the CQUniversity Marine Debris survey.

The group retrieved everything from cigarette butts and toilet seats to fishing nets and bottle caps.

"We have collected more than 6000kg of rubbish since we started the survey last year," Conservation Volunteers Australia CQ manager Caitlin Davies said.

The group of volunteers worked closely with CQUniversity's Dr Scott Wilson to collate data for the research project.

Ms Davies said CVA was hoping to work with QGC and CQU again soon.

What they found

  • 8000 items of rubbish.
  • 6000kg rubbish was removed.
  • Cleared 15sqm invasive vegetation.
  • Items collected over 12 month period.