Roaring South Westerlies, exfoliating sand dunes, tent dramas, shower deprivation and crocodile proximity, could not decrease the enthusiasm of a truly international group of volunteers, at a five day beach clean-up, held recently at Captain Billy’s Landing, on eastern Cape York Peninsula.
Participants from Tasmania, tropical North Queensland, Holland and Switzerland, joined Tangaroa Blue founder Heidi, partner extraordinaire Matt, NPARC / Apudthama Indigenous Rangers and Traditional Owners, in the removal of almost 2 tonnes of rubbish, from 10km of beach along this wild and beautiful coastal location.
After successive yearly collection events across Australia, sorting and recording categories of discarded commercial and domestic waste, Tangaroa Blue now has statistical proof that reduction of plastics, rubber, foam, rope and other inappropriate materials from the marine food chain, is possible.
This amazingly detailed process has the ultimate aim of educating public behaviour to bring about industrial and political change regarding waste. Particularly that of single-use containers and packaging. We all benefitted from the knowledge of Netherland’s Master of Science student and Biologist Enya, who provided valuable understanding of nano, micro, meso and macro plastics in the environment. Repeat volunteer Jeff was always ready with support and a wry remark. Tassie bush walker Marilyn returned after a challenging but successful clean-up at Mapoon on western Cape York the previous year. Volunteer Joy described herself as “the ultimate thong queen,” as team members, weighed, sorted and recorded, 839 discarded and rotting rubber flip-flops, 13,569 hard plastic remnants, 3502 plastic lids and bottlecaps, 1151 plastic drink bottles and 334m rope from this one beach area.
Traditional owner Trevor acknowledged “Without Tangaroa Blue, this clean beach wouldn’t have happened!”
Before leaving, all were rewarded with a refreshing swim at the magnificent Fruit Bat Falls.
To be involved in such a worthwhile exercise has been hugely satisfying, and all participants would wish to thank Heidi and Matt for this opportunity and wish them well for the future.
Thanks to the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and the NPARC Apudthama Rangers for supporting this event, and to all the volunteers for their efforts on the beach!
Report by Tangaroa Blue volunteer Joy Shand-Culley.