Removing plastic to help the green turtles

I’m lucky enough to be on holiday at a remote North Queensland beach and each morning my husband, dog and I walk the length of the beach. We never know what we will see. It is a wonderful ritual of conversation and observation. And now conservation too. This morning was green turtles tracks.

There is much discussion with the locals about the six green turtle nests already on the beach. But this morning we witnessed another… large tracks up to the dunes and back and evidence of a few attempted nests until she finally found her perfect place.

Now we have seven green turtles nests!

We all are awaiting eagerly (like expectant grandparents) to see if we get some hatchlings. We know a goanna has got to one of the nests. Of course, this is the circle of life. Statistically so few of the baby green  turtles will survive.

I never walk the beach without taking a bag to collect rubbish (it happens to be a cloth bag made of recycled material from work), simply I do not want the first meal of one of these tiny creatures to be a piece of micro plastic. (Those minute blue specs probably look so tasty).

And it has become a thing… almost a competition with the walkers. No one here walks the beach without taking plastic and refuse away. We have no idea where the litter comes from… from reef boats or from the currents. But even in this remote place there is always specks of plastic.

Where does the plastic come from?

Everyone does it here, everyone picks up, if they see something. When we see thoughtless rubbish left behind from a beach party; instead of being angry with what remains, we simply remove it – and then we don’t have to look at it again and be reminded of the thoughtlessness – out of sight out of mind.

I remember this time last year David Attenborough urged us to only use what we need, to reuse before we recycle and simply to notice everything around us and do something when we see it.

In Western Australia I saw the campaign – ‘Take three for the sea’. Everybody does it. You want to be part of the movement not part of the problem.

I have watched this community evolve over the many years that we have come here. It is just the way we do things around here.

Purposeful, community based shared micro actions will make a difference. If for no other reason than at least we feel like we are doing something! Protecting our turtle babies… It is the first time in many years that the green turtles have chosen our beach on mass.

And sometimes, rarely but on occasion we walk the beach and find no plastic at all.

Perhaps we are making a difference.

Now, I just need to do the same thing in our local park on the foreshore in Sydney.


Also published on Medium.

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