Why clean up only once a year?

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March 7, 2011
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March 8, 2011

Clean Up Australia Day is a fantastic initiative that this year inspired over 500,000 people to do their bit.

Mother of three and seasoned traveller, Deborah Dickson-Smith blogs about last weekend..

Armed with gloves and bags, volunteers gathered at 7,400 registered sites across Australia to participate in the 21st Clean Up Australia Day. Focusing on our beaches, parks, bushland and waterways, volunteers removed the country’s most frequently dropped items – cigarette butts and recyclables such as glass, plastics and paper.

I joined in with volunteer group Eco Divers, at Little Manly, one of many sites on the Northern Beaches, for a clean-up with a difference: underwater.

We’ve all been told the dangers of plastic bags and bottles hitting our waterways but you don’t always get to see this first hand. The debris left behind by recreational fishermen is particularly surprising – most of the litter I collected underwater at Little Manly was plastic bags – empty bait bags.

And the total counts from the 40 or so volunteers at Little Manly?

  • 95 kilos rubbish
  • 83 kilos recycleables (sorting what you collect is just as important)
  • 4000+ cigarette butts
  • Lots of fishing debris
  • PLUS – a seabird rescue with fishing hook and line successfully removed from a seagull found in distress.

And it was fun! A beautiful day to be down the beach, warm water and great visibility for a novice diver such as myself and great fun chatting over a coffee afterwards. Which leads me to ask: why only once a year?

So here’s a thought (not my own original thought but one that I whole-heartedly support): take your two hands, take 30 minutes and head to your favourite local spot to see what difference you can make.

Then… take a photo of your haul and share it on the Two Hands Project Facebook page. It’s catching on – in less than six months the Two Hands Project has attracted over 7000 fans in Australia and all over the world.

About Deborah Dickson-Smith

Deborah’s first trip with a bub of 4 months involved a 26-hour flight with no sleep, which is exactly when she realised travelling would never be the same. This has only been further confirmed as her family has grown. She’s lived in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Edinburgh, London and is now reasonably settled in Sydney’s northern beaches with her three children — who are now all seasoned travellers.