Seven-year-old Elijah Richardson is cleaning up the region’s beaches and has asked people to stop littering after collecting hundreds of cigarette butts in a matter of days.
Elijah became a self-made eco warrior by chance after becoming increasingly concerned by the amount of litter he saw near waterways.
He has been cleaning up any time he’s out and about but in an effort to inspire more people to do the same, he’s started to coordinate clean up days which the community can participate in.
The high volume of cigarette butts found in recent weeks played a big role in Elijah’s desire to up the ante with his cleaning efforts.
“One of the times we found 157 cigarette butts,” Elijah said.
“A week later there were about 54.
“It's really lots and I feel really sad about it because people are just dropping them and not being caring.
“Where I’ve been picking it up from, it's only 15 steps away from the bin.”
Elijah, who is a Reef Guardian School student, keeps a clipboard on him when cleaning up to record the data and keep a tally of rubbish collected.
The highlights from his litter haul are also published on his Instagram page Elijah’s World Qld.
He’s hoping his story will encourage people to stop littering.
“It's important because every creature that lives on the reef can be affected by it.
“If they are left on the ground here the wind will just take them all the way into the ocean then they can break down or any creature can eat them.
“I really hope that people do because it's just so helpful for the environment.”
He targets beaches throughout the region including Mon Repos, Burnett Heads, Bargara and Innes Park North.
Elijah encouraged anyone interested to join him for a clean up event at the Bundaberg Port Marina on Saturday 10 October from 8 am to 11 am on 15 – 17 Marina Drive, meeting at the Lady Musgrave carpark by the path near the water.
“People can just come and join in,” he said.
“We'll give people bags and gloves.”
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