Beaches have been littered with hundreds of disposable face masks as debris from 40 shipping containers which fell off a cargo ship continue to wash ashore.
About 326 face masks were single handedly picked up by Louis O’Neill at Bouddi National Park on the Central Coast of New South Wales this week.
The APL England was en route from China to Melbourne on May 24 when it hit wild weather about 73km south-east of Sydney.
Large swell caused the ship to roll and stacks of containers destabilised and fell into 2km-deep water, forcing the vessel to turn around and head towards Brisbane.
About 326 face masks were single handedly picked up by Louis O’Neill at Bouddi National Park on the Central Coast of New South Wales (pictured)
The APL England (pictured) was en route from China to Melbourne on May 24 when it hit wild weather about 73km south-east of Sydney
Mr O’Neill spotted the floating face masks and collected them to protect wildlife (pictured) at Bouddi National Park
Mr O’Neill said he previously collected face masks from the APL England but a new batch has recently washed ashore putting wildlife and sea creatures at risk.
‘When the containers first went overboard, there were a lot of masks in the water, but this last set of storms brought in a whole wave of new ones,’ he told Yahoo.
‘I’ve picked up a lot in the past and thought we were beyond it, but now there’s a fresh new batch.
‘Really, it’s just a tragic state of affairs, we’re trying to look after ourselves, but at what cost?’
Some of the face masks collected by Mr O’Neill who is worried about the dangers they pose to wildlife
The face masks washed ashore (pictured) after the APL England lost containers back in May
Aliy Pott said the news about the cargo washing up on the beaches upset her so she went to help clean up the shore at Sydney’s Coogee Beach.
‘I saw a post last night before going to bed that someone had posted so I set my alarm for 6.30am and took down gloves and extra bags in case other people wanted to help clean up,’ the 25-year-old previously told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Within an hour I had collected hundreds of masks, hundreds of plastic containers and filled up bags of rubbish.
‘I would love to go back down the next few days and I’m hoping that other people are feeling inspired to do the same thing because it’s going to need a lot more than one person to do it.
‘And we all have a chance to make a difference in this in this devastating accident for the environment.’
Local resident Aliy Pott (pictured) and co-founder of Australian organic beverage company Naturally Driven, helped clean up at Coogee Beach
Ms Pott said Coogee ‘looked like a tip’ and that the beach was covered in medical masks and plastic containers (pictured)
Wildlife Victoria CEO Megan Davidson has urged Australians to dispose of face masks thoughtfully to protect animals.
She suggested washable or reusable face masks to protect wildlife compared to the disposable ones.
If using a disposable mask, Ms Davidson requests people cut off the elastics to stop wildlife from being tangled in them.
Face masks are being encouraged in Australia and the rest of the world due to the deadly coronavirus.
‘If you are out of your home for one of the four reasons, then you need to be wearing a mask and I stress – or a face covering – it need not be a hospital grade mask, it need not be one of the handmade masks,’ Premier Daniel Andrews said on Sunday
Residents in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire are now required to wear face masks when they leave the house for the four permitted reasons including, exercise, medical attention, work and to purchase necessary items.
Those who don’t wear a mask, unless exempted, risk a fine of $200.
People living in regional Victoria are also encouraged to wear face masks as a precautionary as the state battles through a second wave.
‘If you are out of your home for one of the four reasons, then you need to be wearing a mask and I stress – or a face covering – it need not be a hospital grade mask, it need not be one of the handmade masks,’ Premier Daniel Andrews said on Sunday.
‘Any face covering is better than no face-covering.’
Up to three million face masks have been ordered by the Victorian government as local businesses and companies work round the clock to meet demand.
People seen wearing face masks outside of Vicroads on the first day since masks became mandatory in Victoria (pictured on Friday)