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The good, "bag" and ugly - the big clean-ups in 2015

Fitzroy 42015 provided us with more big clean-ups than ever before! The good news: Thanks to additional funding through the Everyone's Environment Grant and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority we were able to run more events in Cape York than in any other year: Apart from our "old friends" Mapoon, Captain Billy's Landing and Chilli Beach we visited Cape Bedford just north of Cooktown twice, cleaned Port Stewart with the help of the Lama Lama Junior Rangers, and added another new site: Somerset at the very tip of Australia to the calendar. In 4 short months we pulled over 17 tons of debris from Cape York beaches!

For the 11th year we also ran the Western Australian Nyul Nyul RangersBeach Clean-up with the support of Coastwest & Keep Australia Beautiful Council WA. Our WA volunteers are definitely experts in removing and documenting rubbish by now. This year volunteers cleaned over 206km and removed over 4.2 tonnes from between Beagal Bay (see photo of Nyul Nyul Rangers) all the way down to Esperance and across to Cocos Island!

Mackay 4The "bag" news: The inaugural Great Barrier Reef Clean-up was held in October with the support of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Reef Trust, Eco Barge Clean Seas and local community groups and councils. New clean-up bags with the slogan "don't let your litter bug our reef" were spotted up and down the coastline between Bundaberg and Cooktown. Just like in WA people could register their own site for the big weekend, and in addition Tangaroa Blue sent their crew to 11 locations to assist in coordinating community clean-up events and raise awareness for the cause. Over 11 tonnes of rubbish was picked up during this mega event!

The ugly news: This year the Tangaroa Blue Cape Bedford 1volunteers happened to clean-up after two category 5 cyclones: cyclone Marcia in Yeppoon and cyclone Nathan north of Cooktown. Whilst the load of rubbish after Marcia already shocked us, no one was quite prepared for the ugly record that Cape Bedford set north of Cooktown: On only 500m of beach we collected 1.2 tonnes of debris! A clean-up where you don't even have to walk along the beach any more, you just sit down and collect from there until you shift your bum 2m further along the beach.

Doing the maths for the whole year, Tangaroa Blue volunteers have removed a total of 103,879 tonnes from Australian beaches!

What comes next? All the recyclables that we collected in Cape York over the year are sitting in silo bags in a remote place in Cape York awaiting their new destination. Only recently the Dunlite office in Townsville donated a brand new generator to us to help run the baler that the Cook Shire has provided. The beginning of December will see the team head up to Lakeland one more time to compact all the plastics recovered during the year, and to send them into recycling systems to get a new life instead of getting burnt or buried in our landfills.