The cleanup group has been operating in the Southern Beaches area since 2004 at least. All those years ago, there was so much rubbish it would take the group three hours to just do a small section of road. Before that, when Judy and Genevieve started, it took them one whole year to work their way along Old Forcett Road from the Highway to the Dodges Ferry shops just once. Now that the roadsides are cleaned on a regular basis, it takes just two hours to cover the whole of Forcett Road from the Arthur Highway to the Dodges Ferry Football Ground, as well as Lewisham Road from the Highway to Quarry Road.
The group began with a small team of about eight people and the numbers have fluctuated over that time. There are now only six regular members who meet on the last Sunday of the month to tackle the litter on the approaches to Lewisham and Dodges Ferry.
All of the group live in and care about the area and would prefer not to have to drive or walk past a long ribbon of rubbish on the roads, as had been the case in the past.
The group would love to have more members so the task is easier for all and perhaps more of the area can be cleaned up. The average age of the members of the group is 72 and it is getting harder for each to continue as the years progress. As it is the area covered may have to be reduced in the future.
Southern Beaches Landcare/Coastcare manage insurance and membership, a private donor helps pay for the membership and insurance, the Sorell Council manage the rubbish after collection and supply material like black plastic bags and pick up sticks, and the Clean Up Australia Council are always ready to supply new bags, gloves and support whenever they are needed.
The types of rubbish collected is staggering:
- Cigarette packs and butts – usually in piles where a car has stopped or just single items thrown from vehicles.
- MacDonalds, KFC products and packaging – along with the bottles this accounts for most of the rubbish by far.
- Glass bottles, cans, soft drink bottles, milk cartons – up with the fast food chain packaging amounts.
- Sometimes the rubbish buildup in a car is emptied out onto the road.
- Supermarket plastic bags.
- Household rubbish left in plastic bags.
- Dirty nappies.
- Empty pill packets. For a while there were large numbers of these, but fewer now.
- Rubbish that has fallen (or been dumped) from vehicles – tradies’ waste, (brand new products for new buildings or renovations that have been damaged), cushions, chairs etc from households. This type of rubbish is usually the most difficult to handle.
- Parts of vehicles – tyres, hub caps, windscreen wipers – often too difficult to handle.
- Offal and parts of animals – usually left in plastic bags, which is awful. The animal carcasses would have been better unwrapped as they could rot naturally and much more quickly.
- Amounts of roadside litter is worse over the summer period.
To help keep our roadsides clean please:
- take all your litter home
- take a rubbish bag when out walking
- clean up the roadside in front of your property
- tie down loads on trucks, trailers and utes
If all this happened, the group could disband and each of the volunteers could have a wonderful sleep in on the morning of the last Sunday of the month.
If you’d like to volunteer for two hours of exercise on a Sunday morning just once a month, please email lorron2a at gmail.com or phone Lorraine on 62658626.