Local Groups band together to take care of our place

It was all hands on deck aboard Freedom Fast Cat’s Freedom Flyer, for a day spent tackling marine debris on some of the more hard to access beaches around Great Keppel Island.

The day that was funded by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Community Grants and Livingstone Shire Council was also supported by Max Allen and the team at Freedom Fast Cats.

Representatives from eight local groups including Woppaburra Traditional Owners, Capricornia Catchments, Capricorn Coast Landcare, GenYadaba, Friends of Lammermoor Native Gardens, The Surfrider Foundation, Plastic Bag Free Livingstone, Greening Australia, and The Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland along with a number of individuals collected more than 4200 pieces of marine debris from local beaches. The haul that totalled nearly 300kgs included some unusual items including a bar fridge, plastic 44 gallon drum, whole wooden pallets, right down to tiny plastic astronaut toys.

Photo credit: Malcolm Wells

Woppaburra Elder Bob Muir said “It is great to see everybody getting involved, doing a good job and enjoying it too. For me it really helps the healing of the country to have the different groups there as part of the healing process for the island.”

Capricornia Catchments Project Officer Shelly McArdle said “As usual we had a brilliant team of passionate people who mobilised to be part of the solution, not only removing the debris but to raise awareness about the threat that it poses to our local wildlife both in the water and on the shoreline. We love this place and it shows… I believe in order to create change it is helpful to focus on raising awareness by sharing real stories about the beauty of these wild places….this will inspire real and lasting change.

We have seen a groundswell of people starting to look at ways to avoid using plastic in their everyday lives. I remember a time only a few years ago when people were regarded as strange for bringing their own cup to the coffee shop or for refusing a straw but now plastic starting to be seen as seriously uncool.”

Future events in planning include the Annual Five Rocks Clean Up that is set for the last weekend in October. The event that is led by the Surfrider Foundation, partnering with Cleanwater Constructions, Capricornia Catchments, Tangaroa Blue, the Fitzroy Basin Association Inc., Capricorn Coast Landcare, GenYadaba and many others is shaping up to be bigger and better than ever.

To find out more information on how you can be involved contact Shelly on 0428 123 244 or smcardle@capcatchments.org.au

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