The community came together for a Milbi Festival clean-up, a collaboration between Bundaberg Regional Council and not-for-profit marine environment organisation Tangaroa Blue Foundation at Bargara beach.
Individuals and groups joined in on the day for the Tangaroa Blue Beach Clean Up, including a team from Bundaberg Rum.
The Bundaberg Rum team were able to participate in the clean-up as part of their company’s volunteering program that supports staff to undertake a day's voluntary work during their ordinary work hours.
Bundaberg Rum’s parent company, Diageo, has a worldwide focus on grain-to-glass sustainability through its Society 2030: Spirit of Progress ambition.
Its work is focused on preserving water, accelerating to a low carbon world, and becoming sustainable by design.
Diageo has established working groups and ‘green teams’ to help continue to drive a cultural shift and sustainability actions within the business and in the community.
Milbi Festival clean-up is team's first outing
Bundaberg Rum Lab Technician Karen Chadwick is part of a newly formed ‘green team’ at the Bundaberg Rum Distillery.
“I went through the Milbi program and saw this clean-up, I thought this would be a great start because we're just a new group,” she said.
“From the team's point of view, it's about trying to make a difference not just within Diageo, but in our local communities as well.
“I think it's about making sure that we keep our region beautiful for our families, for the tourism industry.
“We rely on that, we want to have a beautiful, pristine environment for people to come and enjoy for years to come.”
The group cleaned up a range of items from the beach and foreshore, including a nappy, a pair of undies, general rubbish, burger packets, bottles and cans and lots of cigarette butts.
Karen said she would encourage other people to get involved in similar initiatives.
“In the long run, it's just an hour or two out of your day,” she said.
“And if lots of people do small things, it becomes a big thing, you know, so we can make a difference that way.”
Good results from Milbi Festival clean-up
The Tangaroa Blue Beach Clean Up involved over 20 volunteers who collected three 56 litre bags full of rubbish, which were then sorted and counted for entry into Tangaroa Blue Foundation's Australian Marine Debris Initiative database.
Of the 1,430 individual items recorded, the most notable items identified were 365 cigarette butts, 335 soft plastic film remnants, 190 plastic packaging items, 167 paper and cardboard items, and 96 sanitary tissues and napkins.
Tangaroa Blue Foundation's Ian Anderson said the organisation had done beach clean-ups with the Milbi Festival for the last few years, and this year's event went exceptionally well.
“A lot of people are interested in the turtles and see the benefit of a clean beach for protecting the wildlife,” Ian said.
“The beach looked clean when we got there, but we ended up picking up 14.5 kg of debris.
“It was disappointing to see a lot of local litter in such a lovely area.”
The Tangaroa Blue Beach Clean Up has become a fixture of the Milbi Festival program in recent years, with one of the festival’s three pillars being environment.