Clean streets = clean beach

The first environmentalist that made an impact on my life was my dad – I just did not know it until now. I chatted about it with my siblings, each of us with the memory of him picking up other peoples tossed aside food wrappers.

It was never him walking around our town with a bag collecting rubbish. Only what he encountered on his way to his destination in town. It was such a simple act. Pick up and place in bin. There was no anger about doing it or a lecture to us to do the same. It is like he does it without thinking. He simply saw a problem and responded.

I do it also, having learnt from my dad’s habit. On my way to the train station, walks to the shops – if I see a piece of rubbish I will dispose of it. It’s not hard. I don’t get angry at the person that left it there. Simply, I don’t want it ending up at my beach where I swim or in the bushland I hike in. So I move it. Even the builder has mimicked my moves and will do the same when we go for walks by the local river. The rubbish I pick up ended up on the street or parkland for different reasons; maybe it fell out of someone’s bag, it got blown out of a rubbish bin, or perhaps there was not a bin available. The idealist part of me like to believe people would not intentionally leave rubbish behind.

Why do I make the effort to pick up another person’s rubbish? The answer is simple. To stop it from getting into our waterways. The chip packet or bottle you have seen laying on the side of the road has the possibility of getting washed into a storm water drain and ending up in a local river or ocean. Huge amount of debris get washed into our waterways, while most of it gets caught in stormwater litter traps or beach-end drain there are pieces that escape and can get through.

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Pockets of people with the same attitude are coming together and creating organisations that are spreading the message of picking up rubbish before it ends up in our oceans. It is exciting to see. One of those organisations is Take 3.

Take 3 encourages beach goers around the world to collect 3 pieces of rubbish from the beach to dispose of responsibly. Three pieces of rubbish. While the focus is on collecting from the beaches of the world, the organisation believes in taking from everywhere. Proud supporters will tag the rubbish collection on instagram. It puts a smile on my face to see people standing excitedly with the rubbish they picked up. I know the lively feeling.

So I am going to take it further and I am asking you too. Let’s expand it, focusing on our streets and start taking three. Let’s stop the food packaging from sitting forgotten in our drains and ending up in our waterways, flowing into our beautiful oceans. Having a clean beach starts here in our cities and town; on our doorsteps.

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