Clean me up Scotty

What do you get if put together a huge cube of compressed plastic bottles, a bouncy castle, lots of sausages and more than a hundred keen volunteers? Answer: Geraldton’s Big Beach Clean-up.

Last Sunday was the third consecutive year this event has been held on Geraldton’s foreshore, and was easily the best year yet.

More than 100 Geraldton residents turned out for the event, collected their clean-up gear, ventured forth and cleanedup their favourite stretch of beach, before returning to the foreshore to sort and record all of their collected rubbish.

Those who stayed til the very last minute. It was a great turn-out for the annual Geraldton Big Beach Clean-up.
Those who stayed til the very last minute. It was a great turn-out for the annual Geraldton Big Beach Clean-up.

All up, 63 bags containing 307 kg of beach litter and marine debris was collected and sorted, with rope, plastic, and cigarette butts featuring prominently.

The whole event had a festival-like atmosphere, starting off with a Welcome to Country by Wilunyu woman Donna Ronan (Minagu) with her son Leroy (Guru Gala) on the didgeridoo. Numerous posters were on display providing information on marine debris, such as where it comes from and what harm it does to the environment. Other displays focused on recycling in Geraldton, with the key message to reduce single use plastics in your life.

However, it wasn’t all about information and scouring beaches: a sausage sizzle, food and drinks, a bouncy castle and live music were all popular attractions throughout the morning. For those Big Beach Clean-up volunteers who stuck around until the very end, there was also a number of give-away prizes donated by local businesses, which included metal water bottles, keep cups, metal straws and hessian shopping bags. Young volunteer Phoebe Teakle was the closest in a participant’s competition to guess the number of bottles in a compressed cube of recyclable plastic bottle on display and won a beautiful bench-seat made from recycled plastic, which she promptly donated to her school, Geraldton Grammar. What a star.

NACC Coastal and Marine Program Coordinator Mic Payne said: “This was easily the best year we have had yet. All of the supporters and project partners knew the ropes well, and so there was much less oragnising to do. It almost ran itself.”

“I would like to sincerely thank everyone who pitched-in to make this event such a success, in particular the City of Great Geraldton, Apex Australia, Batavia Coast Maritime Institute (at Central Region TAFE), Champion Bay Surf Livesaving Club, Geraldton Greenough Farmers Market Committee, Jump n Bump Amusements, Midwest Ports Authority, Replas, Ripit Security Shredding, Veolia Environmental Services, Waste Authority, local businesses who made donations, and of course the tireless volunteers.”

The feedback from the volunteers was that they all had a good time, and enjoyed helping to keep Geraldton’s beaches clean. Warp speed ahead for the same event next year was the prevailing sentiment.

For more information on NACC’s beach clean-up activities in the region, please contact Vanessa McGuiness on 9938 0108 or vanessa.mcguiness@nacc.com.au.

For more information, please contact NACC on 99380100 or email nacc@nacc.com.au.

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