August 20, 2019
The Australian outback is famous for its natural beauty, but without the hard work of a team of South Australian volunteers it would be much less picturesque.
The Australian outback is famous for its natural beauty, but without the hard work of a team of South Australian volunteers it would be much less picturesque. The Great Tracks Cleanup Crew gather once a year to trek across the South Australian outback to collect and, if possible, recycle the unusual mix of litter and illegally dumped items that they find. Their work focuses on a different outback track each year, and in some situations the crew's pickups may be the only regular ones those tracks receive. Driving along those roads is hard enough but patrolling them for litter can be a major endeavour. The ABC's Shannon Corvo spoke to the Cleanup Crew about those challenges and their efforts in 2019. Relying on a team of 28 volunteers they travelled over 18,000 kilometres to collect dumped items on the Strzelecki Track, which links Innamincka to Lyndhurst. Their finds ranged from toilet paper discarded by travellers making pit stops to large amounts of truck tyres. While some waste comes from misguided littering by travellers who don’t think to take their rubbish with them, others are clearly illegally dumping materials where they hope they won’t be found. Items collected in the past have included toilet seats, televisions, various caravan fittings and even unopened beer. As a volunteer effort any money made from recycling, primarily from scrap metal, goes into covering the cost of fuelling both the vehicles and the people behind the wheel. The next challenge on Great Tracks’ horizon is Uluru. In response to an upcoming ban on climbing the indigenous sacred site, taking effect this year on October 26, ill-equipped drivers are leaving behind waste as they drive along the Oodnadatta Track. That track is the Cleanup Crew’s next target, and hopefully the climbing ban will leave them with less work to do in future. Positive Action Help prevent litter and dumping by using RecyclingNearYou to find out how and where to recycle in your area . If travelling in a remote region try to take whatever waste you can with you until you find a responsible way to either dispose of or recycle it . For more information or to donate to the Great Tracks team visit their website.
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Josh comes to Planet Ark after a stint in legal communication and from a background in print journalism. He studied Communications and Media as a mature age student in Wollongong where he re-discovered his love for the natural environment.