Keeping K’gari beautiful
We here at OFF THE TRAX absolutely love Fraser Island (K’gari) and have been very fortunate to visit on many occasions. It truly is a slice of paradise. As such we couldn’t resist putting our hands up for the Fraser Island Clean Up (FICU).
It’s a sad fact however that increasing visitor numbers and human impact are taking their toll on the island. Since 2001, Four Wheel Drive Queensland has been coordinating an annual clean up event with 4WD Queensland affiliated clubs and their members. Called the Fraser Island Clean Up, the event sees participants volunteer their time to clean up this World Heritage Listed Island. The event is conducted in close conjunction with Queensland Parks and Wildlife.
In 2018, OFF THE TRAX participated in the clean up as members of the North Brisbane 4WD Club.
Each Club is assigned a designated section of the island to clean up. The crew from North Brisbane were responsible for the section of beach from Hook Point to the barge landing point. As such the Club camped at Dilli Village for its proximity to the area.
We had a relaxed Saturday with Club members taking in some of the sights on the island. We tagged along with a few others to visit the old logging ruins on the island.
Sunday was the actual clean up and as a group we all decided to smash it out early. We were up with the sun and were rewarded with a truly amazing sunrise on the beach.
After the brilliant sunrise we got straight to work. Adults and children alike donned the gloves and grabbed the collection bags to pick up all manner of rubbish off the beaches and dunes.
Across all of the 4WD Clubs involved, there were over 700 people in total involved in the Fraser Island Clean Up. They gave up their time on Sunday to pick up bottles, cans, plastics, fishing line/rope and a whole range of other rubbish that had been discarded or washed up. Impressively those figures included more than 100 kids, including our own. As a family we were very proud to be a part of such an awesome community effort.
What a load of CRAP
…a staggering 6,974kg to be precise!! That was the scale of the rubbish collected by volunteers during the 2018 event.
It was the first year that rubbish from the clean up was collected, examined and collated. The purpose being to trace waste back to the source. the findings were entered into the Tangaroa Blue Australian Marine debris database to help with source reduction schemes. Prevention is definitely better than a cure.
So… what was collected?
- 741 cigarette lighters
- 4,578 straws / cups / plates / cutlery
- 2,367 plastic toys / ribbons / poppers
- 43,701 plastic lids
- 2,075 plastic bags
- 6,442 plastic beverage bottles
- 4,962 rope scraps
- 20,674 plastic film scraps
- 9,606 pieces of foam
- 1,468 glass stubbies
- 2,481 aluminium cans
- 4,382 pieces of aluminium wrapping
- 1,569 thongs
- 7 toilets
The most alarming find was 1,723 Cyalume (glow) sticks used by fishermen to light up buoys at night and by beach party goers. The most satisfying statistic though would’ve had to have been the removal of 131,350 pieces of hard plastic. These are, or will become, the small bits that are dangerous to our wildlife.
Not only was the beach looking pristine again after the clean up there’s no guessing the amount of marine wildlife that has been saved from the removal of all those plastics.
It’s also worth noting that there’s no government funding for the event therefore the Fraser Island Clean Up event relies solely on support from sponsors to ensure the continuation of the event into the future.
Not only can you be part of something worthwhile – helping to protect a World Heritage Area – but it’s also a great community event for the 4WD fraternity. Those who leant a hand to pick up rubbish are also treated to a thank you dinner on the Sunday night as the culmination of the weekend. All the Clubs come together, share some stories from the weekend, along with a few drinks and then there’s a presentation. We heard some preliminary stats of the debris that had been sorted so far, along with the weirdest and wildest things that were collected (some not so PG and had us really wondering what others pack for a beach trip away haha!!) and some fun prizes for range of different collection goals. Besides a beaut BBQ dinner, there is also a raffle with some amazing prizes on offer. We certainly noted plenty of smiling faces as people walked away with fridges, recovery gear, vouchers and loads of other goodies on the night. It was very much a great ending to an awesome weekend and it was really great to see so many involved.
It was truly an amazing combined effort: Queensland 4×4 Club Inc, North Brisbane 4wd Club Inc, Moreton Districts Off Road Club, Brisbane 4wd Club Inc, Twin Rivers 4×4 Club, Amarok Club of Queensland, All American Wheeling, Bundaberg 4WD Club Inc, Toyota Landcruiser Club of Qld Inc, Caloundra City, 4wd Club Inc, Cooloola 4WD Club, Ipswich Low Rangers 4WD Club Inc, Qld Nissan Patrol 4wd Club Inc, Mitsubishi 4WD Owners Club of Qld, Bayside Off-roaders, Sunshine Coast Land Rover Owners Club Inc, Gold Coast Four Wheel Drive Club Inc.
Keeping beautiful places like Fraser in pristine condition is certainly something we feel strongly about as we’d love our children to revisit when they are older and eventually return someday with families of their own. We urge you to jump on board and help out if you can. It’s a great initiative to be involved in and as an incentive to be involved there is discounted barge pricing for registered participants.
You can find further details here: www.ficu.org.au
There’s no need to wait till the annual clean up, anytime is perfect to do your bit whether you’re on Fraser or elsewhere. Whenever you’re out and about simply take your rubbish with you. There’s plenty of 4WD bin bags you can take or just take a regular old garbage bag and clean up after yourself.
Please remember, no matter where you go
take only memories and leave only footprints