Local residents at Rocky Point in Far North Queensland are regularly walking the 2km section of beach from the boat ramp to the north, and never leave the beach without removing bags of litter and items that have been dumped from the side of the highway onto the beach or left from visitors to the boat ramp.
Requesting assistance to deal with this issue, Tangaroa Blue volunteers joined local residents for a clean-up on November 30th and removed over 228kg of mainly litter and items dumped illegally from the beach in just a few hours.
This included metal furniture, plastic sky light, tent poles, metal BBQ, tyres and a urine sample bottle with a Cairns Base Hospital label on it – all things you would not expect, or want to find on a tropical beach on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef!
Also found were 219 aluminium cans (mostly beer cans), 67 glass beer stubbies, 132 plastic drink bottles, 37 shopping bags, 109 food packaging and 437m of fishing line – much found around the boat ramp. Items with people’s names on them were also found, from tax receipts to boxes – but local authorities don’t seem interested in following these up.
Locals know that people illegally dump items from the highway onto the beach, and campers and boat ramp users leave their rubbish instead of doing the right thing and taking it with them. Requests to council have gone unanswered. Infrastructure is needed in the area, with only one bin in the car park of Rocky Point which is often overflowing, not sufficient for the high use of this amenity. Additional bins provided by council are often stolen, so a permanent structure is desperately required. And a complete lack of compliance and enforcement means that it is left to volunteers to try and deal with this problem – and they are getting sick of it.
If you see someone illegally dumping or littering, you are able to do something about it. The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) has an online littering and dumping reporting form at https://report-littering-dumping.ehp.qld.gov.au/ and they can issue an infringement notice to the registered owner of a vehicle/vessel based on your report.
Thank you to all the volunteers that came along and helped. We also acknowledge that the Cairns Regional Council allowed us to dispose of the debris for free at the Killaloe Transfer Station.