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North Shore beach clean up

Story by Charmaine Hill  |  Photo provided by Jessie Price-Decle of South Cape York Catchments

The Cooktown community is passionate about keeping our beaches clean. For many years, different Cooktown organisations have held volunteer beach clean-ups. For the past seven years, South Cape York Catchments and Tangaroa Blue have worked together to continue holding beach clean ups, and collect as much important data as possible. Cooktown’s North Shore beach is a rubbish hotspot, last year SCYC, Tangaroa Blue and Cooktown’s eager volunteers dragged 1.9 tonnes off.

Recently, because of the Coronavirus and the social distancing, myself and the other two trainees, Ben and Angus along with our coordinator, Jason, had to work without our volunteers. We still managed to drag more than 590 kg off North Shore beach! It took us three days to remove all the rubbish on foot. We sorted through some of the rubbish and recorded what it was. This data was then uploaded into Australian Marine Debris Initiative database.

I believe our beach clean ups are important because it helps keep our beach and marine environment as healthy as possible and protects our wildlife from harming themselves by either eating or becoming entangled in the rubbish.

Over the years, the rubbish on our beaches has decreased a little but cleaning a beach is like cleaning your house, there’s always more to do. A lot of the rubbish that washes onto the beaches around Cooktown is from countries to our north because of the ways our tides and ocean system flows.

We hope we can keep protecting our beaches into the future!

This clean-up was part of ReefClean which is funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and delivered by Tangaroa Blue Foundation and South Cape York Catchments

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