I was fortunate enough today to travel with Maicie to her Grandfathers country along with the the Animdilyakwa Sea Rangers for their annual Groote Eylandt Beach Clean Up.
Ute loads of marine debris were collected on a small stretch of remote beach by 105 community members who join the rangers for the second big beach annual clean up called Clean Up Groote Eylandt Day .
The tonnes of rubbish were taken back to the rangers station in Alyangula . On the monday a group of us from Animdilyakwa Arts joined the rangers at the station for the monumental task of sorting through the rubbish took 13 of us over two days to sort through it all. Overall, we counted-
- 4,673 plastic bottle tops
- 2,759 plastic bottles
- 883 thongs (406 left, 397 right + spare parts)
- 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
Ranger Tom Lawton said
“the volunteers felt a great sense of achievement after seeing the large amount of rubbish collected.The attitude was positive, but there is always that mixed emotion where you see people really starting to think about the harsh reality of marine debris and ocean plastics,’ he said.
‘If a group of 105 volunteers can collect that much rubbish in under 2 hours on 6 km of coastline, how much rubbish is there in the ocean and along the rest of the east Arnhem coastline?’
Ocean plastics entrap and maim or even drown sea life .
Maicie and i are inspired to take some of this rubbish and weave it into sea creatures so that the story of this problem can be carried out into the world . Maicie is making another ‘Monster Fish’ . I am making a series of Jellyfish from ghost net and fishing-line . These works will be exhibited in France next year.
An unexpected find for me was a peculiar looking and rather large skull. Ranger Dan had suspicions it may be a killer whale . I was given permission from the Tradional owner of the land where i found the skull to keep it . I took it home and my Friend Carol , Who is a marine mammal expert , confirmed it is a baby false killer whale skull.
I will weave a body for the beautiful creature, so that she can sing again and so i may weave the tragic tale of sea life in the plastic age .