Cleaning up beaches is like collecting Kinder Surprise eggs (but with a positive environmental impact!): Most of the time you get what you already have more than enough of in your collection: drink bottles, styrofoam, thongs, plastic remnants etc. But every now and again you get this rare toy that you have never seen before and that amuses and entertains you. This can certainly be said for our latest quarterly Cape Kimberley clean-up in Far North QLD where the crew picked a fairly complete collection of hens night paraphernalia out of the pile of rubbish. And it wouldn’t be Tangaroa Blue if this wouldn’t also confront the team with the interesting and vital question: What category to put those items under in the database?
This clean-up at our regular monitoring site broke several records, not just the one for the quirkiest accumulation of items: 15 volunteers picked up almost 450 kg of rubbish, filling 53 bags! This is more than ever collected (by less people!) there in the last 3 years. Several heavy items such as tyres, a barricade, a mattress (part of the hens party?) and a big bundle of rope pushed the scales up more than usual. As expected we noticed a peak in the amount of rubbish collected this time of the year after the heavy rain of the wet season had washed the litter from the land into the ocean.
This record holding event can be summarised with some big words:
Accumulation of rare items – not just the above mentioned toys, but also four sharps containers full of needles.
Separation galore of the collected items into six categories for disposal, including three different bags for recycling, two for art projects and one for landfill. Not getting too confused amongst so many white bags showed our level of organisation.
Dedication of one person picking up far over 1,620 pieces of styrofoam out of the identical looking pumice
Appreciation for the cool, breezy day in the tropics that made work so enjoyable and for our unstoppable force of volunteers collecting and processing so many bags!
Report by Angelika Volz