Peregian Beach

Noosa Shire Council has deployed an industrial vacuum to remove tiny polystyrene particles from two of the worst affected areas along the region’s eastern beaches.

The polystyrene is from pontoons that washed ashore during recent floods.

While the pontoons were removed in a complicated joint salvage mission by Council and Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) weeks ago, tackling the polystyrene particles left behind is an ongoing challenge.

Noosa Shire Council Acting Environment Services Manager, Shaun Walsh, said the vacuum – mounted on a four-wheel-drive vehicle – was equipped with a screen to filter the polystyrene from the sand.

“We’ll be concentrating on the dune areas behind the beach where a lot of the smaller particles have settled, carried by the wind,” Mr Walsh said.

Council staff will follow behind the beach vacuum crew collecting remaining mess by hand.

Mr Walsh said residents had done a tremendous job supporting the clean-up by collecting particles by hand, but Council was working hard to find a more efficient solution.

“Unfortunately there is not really any technology purpose-built for removing polystyrene from sand – it’s an unusual situation and certainly not a problem we’ve seen before, but we are delighted to be using this commercial scale equipment in the clean-up.”

Mr Walsh said Council would deploy the industrial vacuum at two sites over two days, weather permitting.

“We’ll be at Castaways Beach around Beach Access 40 on May 10, and then the crews will likely move to Peregian Beach, near the surf club, on May 11.”Mr Walsh said.

“Stakeholders from across the state are very interested in the outcomes of these works as there’s no known technology to deal with this mess.

“In the meantime, bags will remain at the busier beach access points and we greatly appreciate the continued efforts of residents who grab a bag and help collect the polystyrene.”

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