On World Oceans Day, we celebrate the volunteer groups organising cleanups that keep rubbish out of our ocean and provide a sense of belonging for so many people.
Clean Up The South
For years Jacqueline Bosscher and her dog, Anakin have been leaving Trenerry Reserve, Coogee better than they found it. On their morning walks they fill an entire bucket with rubbish, which would have otherwise ended up in our oceans.
After receiving plenty of ‘good on you’ comments from passers-by, she wondered if others might want to join her. And so Clean Up The South was born in 2018 – a monthly clean up event at South Coogee. “The monthly cleans have been great during the pandemic – a time when so many of us feel isolated. It’s a good reason to get out of the house and meet people in your community,” says Jacqueline.
Clean Up The South is especially great for kids, who continue to impress Jacqueline with their extensive knowledge. “It’s amazing how much kids know about recycling these days. They’re often schooling me on the best practices!” Kids also get mini gloves, buckets, and a certificate at the end of the day to mark their hard work.
If you spot a group of divers sifting through rubbish on the beach, it might be the Sea Bees. Their journey started in May 2020, when the APL England cargo ship lost some of its containers, sending tonnes of single-use trash into the ocean off Sydney. Local scuba divers, Corinne and Olimpia were concerned about the environmental impacts of the shipping accident and decided to unite a group of divers to help clean up the mess.
“We were shocked at what we pulled out that day – packaging, utensils, fishing line and golf balls. We also spotted two huge bull rays and a turtle... that’s the main motivation for us: cleaning up the home that these beautiful animals live in,” says Olimpia.
Since then, they have been meeting fortnightly, and have been cleaning both in the water and on the shore, making it accessible for those who are less experienced with scuba diving or snorkelling. Olimpia says the best part of the day is post-clean, when the group behold their combined efforts with a cup of hot soup in hand. “It’s not until we all stand around the huge pile of rubbish that you realise what an impact you’ve made. It puts the biggest smile on your face that lasts for the rest of the day.”
Clean Up Australia
You’ve probably heard of Clean Up Australia Day, but did you know you can start your own clean up group on their website, any day of the year? Clean Up Australia has evolved into an organisation that works with community, government and businesses to provide practical solutions to help us all live more sustainably. You can register as an individual, community group, business or school, and it’s easy as pie. All you have to do is go through the registration process on the website and Clean Up Australia will send you a free Clean Up Kit including bags, gloves, information and promotional materials. If you’d prefer to join a pre-existing group, you can also use their website to search for clean up events near you.
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