On a Sunday drive through Geraldton, you may have noticed Bob Taylor out and about doing his part to keep the streets litter free.
Bob has been actively cleaning up our region for 27 years now, from Wickepin and Narrogin up to Northampton and Binnu, and everywhere in between.
Now, Bob and his wife Eloise have settled in Geraldton where he says he’s facing his biggest challenge yet.
“I’ve only been living in Geraldton for about 18 months and with respect to Geraldton people, there is so much rubbish around,” he says.
“It’s nice for a town or a city to have a nice clean entrance and first impressions matter with me when I travel anywhere.”
“I don’t like seeing litter everywhere and nobody seems to be worrying about it.”
Bob’s passion for collecting rubbish started in 1992 when he was farming in Wickepin, where local Landcare groups played an active role in the community.
After moving to Northampton in 2000, Bob graduated from cleaning up around small, local streets to scouring the main roads all the way out to Binnu.
Since relocating to Geraldton, Bob says his focus has shifted from streets and roadsides to bushland, where he unfortunately finds all kinds of litter, big and small.
“Most of the council bushland is fenced off and there’s not meant to be public access to it but people still dump fridges, freezers, washing machines, old lounge chairs, parts of cars and all that sort of stuff,” he says.
While the work is hard and the hours can be long, the volunteering culture is taking off in Geraldton with Facebook groups being set up to reach out to more people.
One of Bob’s most dedicated volunteering coworkers, Lisa Bickley, has set up a Facebook group – ‘Gero Clean Up Crew’ which encourages members of the public to join monthly rubbish collecting expeditions as well as other local, volunteer-based events.
The City of Greater Geraldton and Keep Australia Beautiful have assisted volunteers with their clean ups by supplying pick up tools and bags as well as hosting clean up events throughout the region.
A mountainous task like this comes with challenges, one of which is finding ways to recycle as much as possible.
Bob says he has always been a big supporter of re-using and recycling. At least 30 – 40% of what he picks up is recyclable.
Rubbish clean ups have also proven to have more pay offs for Bob, than simply the opportunity to help our precious environment to flourish and grow.
“I have found two fifty dollar notes this year and also a twenty dollar note,” said Bob, who also enjoys the exercise involved.
“I don’t mind the walking bit, it keeps me fit and it’s nice to come back to a road you’ve just finished cleaning and see that there’s no litter.”
Saturday the 25th of January will see Bob turn 77 years young and he says there are still many more years of picking up litter left in him.
“I’m doing pretty well for my age and I’ll keep going while I have the passion and am physically able.”