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People of all ages are working hard to keep Groote’s beautiful beaches clean.

More than 100 residents – led by the Anindilyakwa Land and Sea Rangers and women from the Anindilyakwa Art Centre – took part in the second annual Clean Up Groote Eylandt Day at 8 Mile Beach.

They collected an extraordinary amount of marine debris, including:

  • 4673 plastic bottle tops
  • 2759 plastic bottles
  • 883 thongs – 406 left, 397 right
  • 527 plastic cigarette lighters
  • 405 floats
  • 251 squid jigs
  • 119 glass bottles
  • 118 tooth brushes
  • 55 rolls of tape
  • 47 metal containers/gas bottles
  • 4 ute loads of ghost nets and rope

One cigarette lighter was branded – and rangers tracked it to a pool and karaoke bar in Indonesia.

Plastic-based marine debris is recycled where possible through East Arnhem Regional Council’s recycling program.

And then it’s “up-cycled” by the Anindilyakwa artists, who turn it into all sorts of amazing work, including Maicie Lalara’s monster fish, which are touring Australia.

Anindilyakwa Land and Sea Rangers carry out beach clean-ups on all the islands of the archipelago every week during the dry season.

They pick up mainly ocean plastics swept in by the prevailing south-easterly trade winds after being blown down from the Gulf during the monsoon.

The rangers and artists are trying to spread awareness of the global issue of marine debris.

They want to work with other ranger groups in Northern Australia and overseas to reduce the amount of waste washed up on shorelines.

The rangers thank all their partners, including the Mamarika clan, who are the Traditional Owners of the 8 Mile Beach area, the National Indigenous Australians Agency, South32 GEMCO, Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island Enterprises, the Community Development Program, Anindilyakwa Arts Centre and Anindilyakwa Land Council.