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10 601 Plastic Bottles Sitting on Mapoon Beach

201701 MapoonFrom Monday 10th July until Friday 14th July, a small army of Tangaroa Blue volunteers ran an impressive clean-up mission set against the stunning backdrop of Back Beach, Mapoon in Cape York.

The team comprised 14 volunteers including some local regulars, others who travelled interstate from as far as Christmas Island and a team from the Clean4Shore program and Macmasters Beach Surf Club in central NSW. Tangaroa Blue worked in conjunction with the Traditional Owners of the land and were lent a great deal of help by the Mapoon Land & Sea Rangers. Working side by side the Indigenous Rangers was a particularly rewarding aspect of the operation for many of the volunteers.

In five warm and windy days, the joint effort clocked 6.7 kilometres of beach, amassing a staggering 2.2 tonnes of debris. The big ticket item was quite clearly plastic drink bottles. The 10 601 bottles retrieved accounted for nearly a quarter of the total items collected; the main culprit being the Indonesian water brand Aqua, which totalled 3875 bottles alone. Many of the volunteers have vowed never to purchase plastic drink bottles again.

Other notable statistics include the collection of 5607 pieces of polystyrene foam, 2823 thongs and 1436 cigarette lighters.

Tangaroa Blue would like to thank the Traditional Owners as well as the community of Mapoon for allowing them to continue their clean-up and data collection efforts in Cape York. Thanks also goes to the Australian Government's Improving Your Local Parks and Environment Grant, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and the Australian Border Force for their ongoing support.

Report by volunteer Tim Sillato.