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Volunteers help keep Burnett River clean

Ocean Crusaders and volunteers
Ocean Crusaders removed eight tonnes of rubbish from the Burnett River earlier this month with help from volunteers.

Ocean Crusaders removed 8000kg of rubbish from the Burnett River earlier this month with help from volunteers.

The specialised waterway cleaning crew returned to Bundaberg following their initial clean in August when they removed 6.78 tonnes of rubbish.

Ocean Crusaders founder Ian Thompson said that since being contracted by Bundaberg Regional Council to clean the Burnett River they have removed 14.8 tonnes.

“Between the two clean-ups we’ve already done there’s 14.8 tonnes, which has been removed in just 12 days and that’s pretty staggering, but there’s still plenty to do,” Ian said.

“We’ll be back in April for another round.”

While Ian said the clean-up collected a vast quantity of plastics and larger materials, the most promising sign was participation from locals, who volunteered with the crew.

“For our hardcore clean-up days we had some cool people join us,” he said.

“We had one girl who came back for the second time and that’s really great because passionate people are what makes a difference.

“When they come out with us they can see the problem first hand and they can see the extent of the problem.

“That’s really important as normally you only see a few bits of rubbish maybe floating in the river, but until you go into the places where it really gets to and experience how hard it is to pick up you don’t the get full appreciation of how much there is.”

Bundaberg resident Kim Wilson volunteered with Ocean Crusaders for a day and said it was an eye-opening experience.

“I’ve just always seen rubbish around and have a great love for the ocean and environment, so I was really keen to go and help out,” she said.

“We met at the boat ramp and they took us up the river at the back of Rubyanna Creek and put up on the bank and just went and picked up the things we could.

“It was a pretty part of the river, but it was a shame that’s there’s rubbish there.”  

Kim said it's everyone's responsibility to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the river.

“When you see it in the river system you connect back to the things you do yourself and ways in which you can reduce your own rubbish,” she said.

“It’s such an eye opener to go and see it there and it’s really important that more people take part.”

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