Just over 300km north of Cairns is the township of Cooktown – named after explorer Captain James Cook. About 20km before you reach Cooktown is a place called Archer Point. The Yuku Baja Muliku people are the Traditional Custodians of Archer Point, an area covering 22,500 hectares, which encompasses the Annan River and the beach camping site of Archer Point.
The Yuku Baja Muliku (YBM) Land & Sea Ranger program has been established since 2008, and they care for the land and sea by implementing conservation strategies. These Rangers act as mentors for the children of the local area through their Junior Ranger Program.
On Sunday, 21 May 2017, the extremely motivated Junior Rangers gather at 7am to conduct a clean-up of the beach that runs from the beach camping area at Archer Point south to the Annan River. They even crossed to the other side at low tide to remove as much rubbish as they can. Over 3 hours, and covering 1.5km of coastline, 38 volunteers, consisting of YBM Land & Sea Rangers, their Junior Rangers, their parents & siblings and Tangaroa Blue volunteers, a monstrous 530kg of
A further 3 hours worth of effort was contributed by everybody to then sort and count the different types of rubbish so that the data could be added to some longer term monitoring data in the Australian Marine Debris Database. Archer Point has been cleaned annually for 6 years and while local litter is a small component of the rubbish removed, the oceans and winds continue to blow rubbish up out of the ocean along this spectacular stretch of coastline. This year close to 15,000 items were removed and documented, with plastic hard remnants (7173), plastic lids and bottlecaps (2311), thongs (889), plastic drink bottles (661) and pieces of polystyrene foam (528) rounding out the most common items found. This was a great day, and encouraging to see the enthusiasm of the Junior Rangers in caring for their country and their future.
Report by Tangaroa Blue crew member Karlina See Kee