Kelsey Smulders 11, Tiffany Vinten 11, Blair Longmuir 12, Jade Rankin 9, Sarah Emeny 11 and Tyler Martin 11 from Tannum Sands State School working as Marine Debris Collection Scientists.
Kelsey Smulders 11, Tiffany Vinten 11, Blair Longmuir 12, Jade Rankin 9, Sarah Emeny 11 and Tyler Martin 11 from Tannum Sands State School working as Marine Debris Collection Scientists. Luka Kauzlaric

Kids say it’s time to butt out rubbish habit

TEACHERS don't usually say pick up that ciggie - but it was more than your average day at school for 70 regional students on Thursday.

Children from 12 schools morphed into "marine debris collection scientists" at Canoe Point.

The kids were on the beach for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's Future Leaders Eco Challenge.

Authority liaison officer Rhianna Rickard said the students were involved in hands-on activities to learn their role in looking after the reef ecosystem.

"The students have all been very engaged in the activities and involved in fantastic conversations," she said.

"We want the children to take what they learn here and implement it at home and school."

Ms Rickard said plastics and cigarette butts were the most prolific debris in the reef ecosystem.

Tannum Sands State School student Blair Longmuir said he was taught some valuable lessons.

"We are learning about the environment and the effect our rubbish has," he said.

"I care about the environment. I'm actually a Recycle Leader at school."

Eco Warrior talks about reef : Tangaroa co founder, Heidi Taylor talks to The Observer about the importance of sustaining the reef ecosystem.
Eco Warrior talks about reef : Tangaroa co founder, Heidi Taylor talks to The Observer about the importance of sustaining the reef ecosystem.

Tangaroa Blue Foundation co-founder Heidi Taylor said it was about more than collecting rubbish.

"We teach the children about using the data from collecting the debris to find out what rubbish there is and where it comes from," she said.

"These kids are our future and they really understand the importance of looking after our environment."

Tannum Sands State School student Sarah Emeny said she was having a great day and enjoyed the activities. "We've done some art and looked at a saltwater rock pool," she said.

"Looking after the planet is almost the most important thing in the whole world."