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Bronte Lifesavers on Clean-Up Patrol

By Duncan Horscroft on February 26, 2019 in News

Bronte leading the way, by Phil Leamon

The dangers of plastic and other rubbish in our waterways are well documented.

As well as threatening endangered marine and other wildlife, there are literally islands of junk floating in the world’s major oceans.

All of this junk is man-made and there is no apparent reason why it should not have been disposed of properly in the first place.

But it is what it is.

The late Ian Kiernan OAM, through his Clean Up Australia campaign, showed the world that people care for their environment, with millions of volunteers on hand every year on Clean Up Australia Day.

Now another volunteer is starting her own campaign on Bronte Beach.

Emma Finnerty, an active volunteer surf lifesaver for the Bronte Surf Club, has made a resolution to complete a rubbish clean-up along the beach at the end of every surf patrol.

“It’s a small step to try and make a difference for our beaches and our community,” Ms Finnerty said.

“The local parkies and the council are doing a great job, but with the number of beachgoers over the recent holiday period, everyone needed to step in and lend a hand.”

Ms Finnerty wants to encourage other clubs to band together and show they care for their local beaches, and has received support from her local patrol captains. She also hopes to receive support from the local Nipper movement.

By doing this, she believes it will encourage beachgoers to be more aware of the rubbish left behind on a summer’s day and hopes that they will get the message and take their rubbish with them.

“Watching our volunteer lifesavers comb the beach at the end of the day will be a powerful reminder to be responsible for our impact on the environment,” Ms Finnerty said.

“It would be great to get some promotion to get the other clubs on board and send a compelling message to the community that it shouldn’t be anyone’s job to pick up after others.

“It is commonplace to see committed ocean lovers heading back from the shoreline with fists full of rubbish. No one wants to go for a swim at Bronte pool and have to navigate past plastic bottles and coffee cups strewn across the ground or floating in the water.”

Ms Finnerty also provided some insights from the Environmental Protection Authority into what drives littering behaviour:

• The more litter about, the more people are inclined to litter – “So removing a solitary piece of litter is an important step to avoid the problem getting worse.”

• The more convenient the bin placement, the less people will be inclined to litter – “That said, who else has seen litter shoved in the bushes less than two metres from a bin?”

• Areas out of public view or alleyways collect litter – “This explains all the rubbish in the Bronte Cutting.”

• The more community involvement and social engagement, the more effective the strategy – “Get involved and remind people to be considerate.”