It was a gloriously warm and clear morning at Rainbow Bay Beach, and the sun kissed our skin as we set up a marquee on the sand and unloaded the Panamuna van with all the supplies we would need for our beach clean-up. The beach itself looked so clean and pristine, and the water was very inviting, that we wondered whether we would find much rubbish at all. As the volunteers started arriving, we dispensed the gloves and empty sacks to a crew of around 20 people, and started hunting for rubbish. Initially we were only finding little bits of plastic, discarded string and cigarette butts, but as we searched further the bags began to fill. It wasn’t until we started searching in and around the rocks that we realised just how much of a problem we had on our hands. There was rubbish and debris everywhere! From the expected plastic cups and glass bottles, aluminium cans and cigarette butts, to Styrofoam, straws, surfboard decks, parts of a body board, jocks and even a can opener, we were all astounded by how much we recovered. Shockingly, this was on a beach that from all appearances seemed clean! It is disturbing how much carelessly dropped litter you find when you just look a bit more closely. It just goes to show the complacency people have, and that there is still a large problem with how some people view, behave in, interact and treat our environment. One problem that was blaringly obvious from the amount of rubbish we collected is our dependence on single-use items, particularly plastic items, and our carelessness in disposing of them. We can all do our bit to reduce the amount of single use items that we require by investing is some reusable items. These include stainless steel drink bottles, washable take and go coffee cups and stainless steel or glass straws. On a positive note, all the fabulous people that came down and participated in the clean-up have ensured that a large amount of harmful rubbish will no longer end up polluting our oceans. We are so thankful to each and every one of you, and it warms our heart that so many children and young adults took time out on their Sunday to contribute their part and make such a difference. We are absolutely stoked by the turn out and hope to build on this next time.
The Panamuna Team would like to thank all of those who joined us. A special mention to Izzy Hobbs, Aires Nicolay Photography and Sudden Glimpse Photography for taking images for us today.