When community comes together

11 Apr 2019 When community comes together

Following on from last week’s story “Clean the coast – Why you should be doing clean ups” I really wanted to shout out to the communities we have already visited and the spirit / feel of these events.

A clean up is a success if one person shows up on the day and you walk around together chatting while picking up rubbish, it’s always good fun. This weekend I was so excited to see people turn out in droves, families, individuals, groups all getting along, having a great time, socialising. 

I know it sounds like a horrible past time picking up garbage, and sure it’s everyone’s dream to not have to do this, and I also have a bit of a hang up from being prescribed playground pick up duties every time I was in trouble at school. But I have to say it was an awesome weekend. 

Badge Badge

The thing is, a big clean-up is so much fun, way more fun than interrupting my morning run with spread out plastic crap every day. On the #cleanthecoasttour however, we are meeting friends and other great people who have all come out for the ocean.

The event in my home town has renewed my faith in people, at a time when politics disgusts me. All the corrupt decisions and the destructive Adani obsession fills me with anger. Not this community though, I once again say that people are already changing the world. 

On the weekend everyone was so happy, wandering our beautiful beaches and rock shelves chatting up a storm and filling bags. Parents took the children down to the water for a swim and then everyone gathered to sort through the waste. There have been other events like paddle outs to protect the Great Australian Bight and the Great Barrier Reef, people care and its showing.

The sorting begins

The final count from the Port Kembla clean-up was;

300kgs in total

Ciggy butts - 830

Cigarette lighters - 22 

Straws, coffee cups, lollipop sticks & cutlery - 315

Plastic bags - 180

Plastic drink bottles - 220

Plastic food packaging - 320

TWEED bait bags - 63

Fishing line - 180M

Recreational fishing items - 92

Foam buoys - 12

Foam cups, food packs & trays - 15

Bean bag beans - 3000 (aprox)

Glass beer bottles - 91

Clothing items - 24

Aerosol cans - 52

Aluminium cans - 120

Metal fishing items (sinkers, hooks etc) - 80

Thongs - 5

Processed timber - 2 

Barbed wire - 6M

Building waste - 12 pieces 

Tyres - 3

Syringes – 4

We are now talking to council about the way forward and how we can reduce the issue in this area. Please also check out and sign the petition to stop TWEED bait selling their products in plastic bags.

We then all filtered into local cafes for lunch before heading to the Ash Grunwald gig at the local Servo Food Truck Bar and again the community came out to play. Children, dogs and parents watching and listening to the show. 

Ash and Aria Grunwald - Photo by Jess Millman

Ash played for about 2 hours the atmosphere was amazing and family friendly with the kids dancing in front of the stage, skateboarding outside, everyone enjoying themselves.

I am so proud of my community, its a pretty special place and if you ever feel down about the lack of will from politicians, get out there and organise a clean-up with one friend or 50 people you've never met.

Check out the #cleanthecoasttour and Ash Grunwald shows along the coast, download the #fairfoodforagerapp and get some #earthbottles

Paul Hellier - Founder

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