A bold 100-day plan to reduce litter in a 2km litter hotspot on the Redcliffe peninsula starts today. Love our Clontarf is off and racing, and organisers hope it catches on.
Les Barkla, founder of the Pristine Peninsula community group, is driving the campaign with support from local residents, Councillor Karl Winchester, State Member for RedcliffeYvette D’Ath, Federal Member for Petrie Luke Howarth, Moreton Bay Regional Council, Clontarf Beach State High School, McDonald’s Clontarf, Citipointe, Woolworths Redcliffe and Margate, Redcycle, Replas, and other local businesses.
“I’ve modelled the 100-day campaign on the successful UK ‘Love Essex’ campaign, involving a combination of litter awareness and education, consequences of litter, and enforcement warnings. The Essex campaign involved council, McDonald’s, KFC, Domino’s and around 300 businesses,” Les explains.
“The Essex Campaign reported ‘a two-fifths reduction in fast-food litter and a 41 per cent reduction in litter overall. We are aiming for similar or better litter reduction results during our campaign.
“Local ‘Waste Warriors’ like Sue and Phil Johnson, Chrissy Foreman, Scott Lowe and Jill Sparks are passionate about keeping their neighbourhood clean from litter, for future generations and our marine wildlife.”
The Love our Clontarf litter campaign is targeting a 2km radius of the Snook and King streets intersection, Elizabeth Ave, and Frawley Fields precinct, where Sue and Phil do daily litter collections.
Sue says: “we fill our 240 litre council bin every week from litter in our local streets. We’re sick of picking up after people who just don’t have any respect for the environment and their neighbourhood”.
Les said it’s these waste warriors, and others all over Redcliffe peninsula, who are helping every day to keep litter out of the sensitive Hays Inlet and Moreton Bay marine ecosystems.
“Sue and Phil inspired me to run this litter campaign because it’s just not fair that these dedicated locals have to clean up after others on a daily basis,” he explains.
“I also have to give a shoutout to our local Council as they are responding to the litter issue with regular clean-ups in this litter hotspot area.
“These are important marine habitats for turtles, dugong and other marine life that are struggling from litter and other pressures from humans.”
There are 14 individuals or businesses who have adopted a street in Clontarf and surrounding areas, and Les is keen to involve more areas as momentum grows.
“We want it to happen for the next 100 days, maybe it will have to happen for the next 100 years,” he says.
“This is about bringing the community together and making people aware. We all have to do something about it.
“I want my grandkids to see live turtles,” he says choking back tears.
Les is encouraging residents to follow Sue and Phil’s lead, taking eligible containers to Express Recycling at Clontarf as part of the Containers for Change program. They donate about $50 a week to the Moreton Bay Koala Rescue Group.
“Sadly, Covid-19 restrictions has seen a large increase in takeaway packaging and mask litter,” Les says.
“Litter, like fast food packaging and cigarette butts, is tossed out carelessly from vehicles and by pedestrians onto our streets and into street gutters, every day. Unfortunately, people just don’t care about their litter at our parks, beaches, creeks, streams drains and shopping centres as well.
‘All this litter has to go somewhere, it doesn’t just disappear. In heavy rain, the litter flows down gutters and drains into our waterways, potentially not breaking down for hundreds of years. We now have microplastics back in our foodchain.”
Les is campaigning for changes to the 2025 National Packaging Policy, stronger state litter laws and fines (currently $266), and more resourcing and enforcement of local litter powers to councils.