An incredible number of thongs or flip flops - 7154 to be exact- have been removed from Mapoon beaches, smashing a record set last year of 4696 removed from Chili Beach, on Cape York's eastern seaboard.

Over five days in late June 2013, eighteen members of the Mapoon Land and Sea Rangers and teams from Conservation Volunteers Australia team, GhostNets Australia and Tangaroa Blue, took on the mammoth task of cleaning up the northern end of Cullen Point and Back Beach at Mapoon, western Cape York.

Back Beach is regularly patrolled by Land and Sea Rangers, who remove ghost nets (derelict fishing nets) and large washed-up items. Despite this regular effort, the collaborative working party collected 3,678kg of marine debris on 11.6km of beachfront, an amount described by locals as overwhelming. 

This rubbish haul filled more than 403 clean up bags, and produced many larger items that couldn’t fit into bags.

In addition to the record number of thongs, 877 cigarette lighters and 2563 gill-net floats were collected. The nets were identified as those used in the illegal and unregulated fisheries operating in the Arafura Sea .

The clean up was funded by Caring our for Country, and follow on from the successful Cooktown clean up in late May.

The Mapoon thong record will  be challenged at the next Chili Beach cleanup.

By Ghostnets Australia