Forty volunteers collect 50kg rubbish in two hours in Great Northern Clean Up

A microphone, a basketball, a dozen thongs, and a seemingly endless number of plastic bottles and cigarette butts – these are examples of just some of the rubbish found and removed from the banks of the Ross River as part of the Great Northern Clean Up 2016.

Over 40 community members participated in the NQ Dry Tropics-hosted event at Riverway on Sunday morning.  Proudly supported by Aurizon as part of its Community Giving Fund, the initiative saw people of all ages collecting rubbish from the river banks and water itself; netting 14 bags and 50kg in just over two hours.


“We collected a large range of rubbish, from the usual tetra packages and chip packets to some more unusual items, like a basketball,a food basket and a microphone,” said NQ Dry Tropics Wetlands Waterways and Coasts Programme Coordinator Laura Dunstan.

“It also helped to build relationships between local residents and community groups and enhance their connection to the Ross River.”

Through the support of Tangaroa Blue and interactive activities provided by Conservation Volunteers Australia, Coastal Dry Tropics Landcare Inc, and Townsville City Council’s Environmental Services, participants learnt about their local waterway, including birdlife, the ecosystem, and health issues like aquatic weeds and what they could do to help minimise the impact.

With several families involved and activities targeted at children, participants were happy that they’d brought their little ones to the event.

“It was a great morning and a great lesson for the kids,” Emma Hook said, who took Hawking, Neve and Saige out on the kayaks looking for rubbish.

The type and amount of rubbish was unexpected for some:

“I was actually really surprised by the amount of rubbish that was collected,” commented one resident when dropping off their rubbish sack. “When we first got here I thought it looked really clean, but I guess you just can’t see all the little stuff when you’re walking on the footpath.”

The Great Northern Clean Up is an initiative of Clean Up Australia.
For more information on our local environment or other local community events, please visit NQ Dry Tropics at and join the Volunteering Dry Tropics Facebook page.