PRISTINE STRETCH: Sally Burns of Hamilton enjoys the Hunter’s cleanest beach, Merewether Beach, during her lunch break yesterday. – Picture by Natalie GronoMEREWETHER Beach has been named the Hunter’s cleanest stretch of sand in the Keep Australia Beautiful Clean Beaches Awards.
Nanjing Night Net

The 2011 honours were announced yesterday at Nobbys lighthouse by Keep Australia Beautiful NSW, local government and community representative Peter McLean.

Mr McLean said Merewether won due to its lack of litter and infrastructure, including the new Merewether Surfhouse.

‘‘It’s important to have good looking beaches … there’s more to beaches than litter management,’’ he said.

‘‘There also needs to be infrastructure, community involvement, environmental protection and management.’’

Now in its 10th year, the awards recognise the communities, councils, volunteers and surf life saving clubs who protect the state’s coastline.

The NSW coast is divided into nine geographic regions for the annual awards.

The overall winners advance to the state finals later this month and then to a national level of competition.

“The Hunter region is rich with beautiful coastline attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, ’’Mr McLean said.

‘‘Being so close to a major city, keeping the beaches healthy and minimising the negative impact of human activity requires strategy, commitment and involvement from all areas of the community.’’