Community Clean-up Champions

One of the best parts of Clean-Up Australia Day 2018 was hearing from many of the participants that there was less rubbish to pick-up this year. We are making a difference.

Volunteers – young and old, big and small – rallied over the long weekend to take part in the annual Clean-Up Australia Day event at Chapman River.

More than 50 community-minded volunteers pulled on their gloves, grabbed a garbage bag, and headed-off into Spalding Park on the banks of the Chapman River to pick-up as much rubbish as they could. Some even jumped onto kayaks and collected rubbish from the water itself – pulling-out fishing lines, hooks and other litter. In the past, volunteers have collected larger items such as push-bikes and shopping trolleys, but this year the main pollutants were notably plastics and food wrappers.

This is the third year that NACC has joined forces with the Chapman River Friends to bring the community together for Clean-Up Australia Day – a cause that both boosts community pride and creates a litter-free environment. And it seems all the hard work has been paying-off.

NACC Biodiversity Program Coordinator Jessica Stingemore said one of the most gratifying parts of the day was hearing everyone say there was less rubbish – meaning that everyone’s sustained and collective efforts have made a noticeable impact on the rubbish alongside and in the river.

“Spotting a small flock of Carnaby’s Black-cockatoos fly overhead during the event really hit home about why we need to remove rubbish from our landscapes,” said Jessica. “We need to create better habitats for our precious wildlife.”

Plastic Waste and Clean Up Australia Day

Plastic has remained the most common category of rubbish picked up on Clean-Up Australia Day over the last 20 years. In 2009, it made up 29 per cent of all rubbish found. Of the plastic rubbish found, 17.6 per cent was plastic bags – with an average of 40 plastic bags being found at each Clean-Up site. That means there is an average of half a million shopping bags collected every year on Clean-Up Australia Day.

This event was proudly supported by NACC, Chapman River Friends, City of Greater Geraldton, Toxfree, Woolworths, and the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

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