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Volunteers clean up at Walker Bay

More than 53 kg of rubbish and the remains of a boat were collected from Walker Bay beach in December during a ReefClean volunteer clean-up and BBQ, led by South Cape York Catchment (SCYC) with support from Cape York NRM.

Beach cleanup

ReefClean is a project funded by the Australian Government's Reef Trust and delivered by the Tangaroa Blue Foundation, in partnership with several organisations, including SCYC. Launched in early 2019, the project aims to remove and prevent marine debris along the Great Barrier Reef region through to 2023.

“We had a good turnout with 22 volunteers and three staff, and it’s always satisfying to see an area free of rubbish after a hard day’s work,” Cape york NRM project officer Ben Ansell said.

“It was also a great opportunity to celebrate and discuss the successes of the Community Action Plan (CAP) Project within the Cape York Region over a post-beach-clean-up BBQ watching the sunset."

The CAP program was developed in 2020 with Cape York NRM and SCYC to get the community together to talk about the Reef, what the concerns were and what could be done.

A Cape York Reef Community Action Plan was developed and some 13 strategies created for community action, such as school field trips, beach clean-ups, turtle nesting protection activities, a youth ambassador program and a cultural heritage protection project.

The clean-up at Walker Bay found the most common rubbish was hard plastic fragments and bottle caps, as well as cleaning agent bottles which Ben noted looked to be of foreign origin.

“We analysed the type and quantity of litter collected and collated the data. This information was then submitted to the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI) Database, to help find solutions to stop the flow of rubbish into our oceans.”

Ben said the site was chosen by South Cape York Catchments and Tangaroa Blue because of its accessibility and its adjacent proximity to the Great Barrier Reef along the QLD coast.

“It also reduces the likelihood of litter being transported into the Annan River and its adjoining National Park located to the south.”

The rubbish collected was taken to the Cooktown waste facility.

The CAP program is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

For more information on the ReefClean program, please contact:
Mathilde Gordon,Major Project ManagerTangaroa Blue Foundation
Australian Marine Debris InitiativePh: 0478 266 774