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Tragic Plastic


Veronica Ross

A little bit of a sleep in this morning before we hit the road. Today we headed to Umbakumba to work with the Rangers there to collect plastic rubbish and ghost nets on 6 mile beach. I was really interested in this as I am keen for my students to complete a plastic clean up as their community focus for an integrated science course. I had seen photos of plastic mountains being piled on beaches but nothing prepared me for the sight that I saw. The diversity of plastic from large buckets through to the microplastics had been washed on the beach. During the monsoon not much plastic waste is washed up on the beach but during the dry, since the wind changes direction to a south easterly, the plastic from the Gulf end up on the Groote Eylandt beaches. Much of the plastic is believed to originate from Indonesia but using the Plastic adrift website (, if waste enters the water in Sydney after 10 years the currents will push it into the Gulf.

We filled three utes full of plastic waste and ghost nets. To me it was distressing to drive past so much waste that still needed to be collected and knowing we just didn't have the space in the vehicles. The experience from this day will last with me for the rest of my life. It has renewed my passion to reduce plastic waste in my own life and encourage my students to also do the same. I encourage everyone to continue to collect any rubbish the see in the environment and reuse or recycle.