The Community of Cairns and Cooktown Cares
Submitted by Sue Hayes ACF Volunteer
On the weekend two community beach clean ups helped to remove mountains of plastic waste and marine debris from our beautiful Cape York beaches. Volunteers from both Cairns and Cooktown came together with the help of local businesses, and environmental and community organisations, to put in a grand effort to remove over 20 cubic metres of rubbish.
Archer Point, with its picturesque beaches, is often inundated with flotsam and jetsam brought in by the various ocean currents as well trash from local campers. To remove this latest rubbish were a small informal group of 6 people made up of Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) staff and volunteers from Cairns as well as Heidi Taylor from Tangaroa Blue Foundation from Port Douglas. In a 2hr blitz these volunteers collected over 21 bags of rubbish weighing almost 100kgs. Some of these items included 94 shoes, (mostly consisting of thongs), 154 plastic drink bottles, 330 remnants of plastic bags, 1371 bits of plastic scraps, 94 polystyrene foam bits and 280 lids.
The second day was a more coordinated effort organised by Cape York NRM Working Group with over 30 people participating in a massive beach clean up spanning approximately 4.4kms on North Shore beach directly opposite Cooktown. This beach is only really accessible by boat, so with the fantastic efforts of QPWS Marine Parks & Land based Ranger, Cooktown Cruisers and the Cooktown Volunteer Coast Guard, the volunteers were safely ferried to the beach. Quad bikes generously provided by Darren Maudsley ‘Gofer’ and Lyle, were essential in transporting over 150 rubbish bags collected along the length of the beach to the mainland and into the Council skip. Other volunteers came from Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), Cape York Weeds and Feral Animal Project (CYWAFAP), Country Women’s Association (CWA), South Cape York Catchment (SCYC), Tangaroa Blue Foundation, Cape York Marine Advisory Group (CYMAG), The Lure Shop, as well as other local community members.