Volunteers needed in the land of the Guugu-Yimidhirr people, Cape Flattery

A unique volunteering opportunity is available to clean Cape Flannery with Parley Australia

Mary Banfield

Journalist

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Cape Flattery Clean-up 1: Photo Supplied
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Parley Australia has called out for volunteers from Port Douglas to travel to Cape Flattery for a week from the 20th of August for an environmental and social experience like no other.

For those who are seeking adventure, to hear the ocean tumble and sleep under stars, to listen to your feet squeak while walking over the fine Silica Sand this extraordinary volunteer opportunity is available.

From Port Douglas, Cape Flattery is 380 kilometres north, into the land of Guugu-Yimidhirr people. Everyone is welcome to join the van that will be picking up participants early on the 20th of August.

Cleaning beaches of plastic

“Cape Flattery is a showcase of a remote and beautiful, truly beautiful landscape. It’s here that the land and sea have been swamped by plastic,” Christian Miller, CEO, Parley Australia said.

“During winter, the ocean currents carry bottles from as far away as northern Asia and South America. 100,000s each year are deposited in the Cape.”

As the seasons change, so do the currents with plastic drifting through southern river systems and harbours up to where the northern currents meet. It’s a great big ocean dump.

What you’ll be doing over the week

In 2021 Parley organized the first clean-up of Cape Flannery collecting in just one day 2.7 tonnes of toothbrushes, plastic plates, and heavy fishing nets, called ghost nets, that filled an entire semi-trailer. Later, painstakingly the junk was sorted and, where possible, plastics were repurposed.

It’s not just hard work. “This camp is so much fun. Once we arrive at the beach the first job is to dig a toilet.” You’ll be ‘roughing it’.

The program is flexible if volunteers can’t commit for a week. “You’re welcome to come independently, and we benefit from having an extra car, but you’ll need a four-wheel drive.”

Searching for a long-term solution

While it’s rewarding to see a beach turn from trash to pristine, it can’t be forgotten that this is not a long-term solution. Next year the beach will be filled with more rubbish.

“That’s why we are drivers of fundamental changes to our consumer world”, Christian said.

This includes intensive research into plastic alternatives that are created from fruit and vegetables, like avocados or mushrooms and we are encouraging everyone to change their behaviour.

“I was at an event recently and there were delicious pastries served on plastic plates. I couldn’t face wasting the plate, so I held it in my fingers. People thought I was mad, but next time, they too might think of not using single-use plastics and using their fingers.”

To volunteer for Cape Flattery or another event: [email protected] or Phone: 0423 802 621

Dates: 20th-27th August.

Cost Free: tents, food, fuel provided


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