THANKS to local volunteers, Collingwood Beach on Jervis Bay is one of the cleanest in the country.
The volunteers, who are loosely organised as the Collingwood Beach Cleanup Crew, have recently been sponsored by Bendigo Bank’s Sanctuary Point branch.
Nikki Saarinen organised the sponsorship after meeting one of the crew, John Hives, on the beach about six months ago.
“The crew are all volunteers and make nothing from it at all except pride in keeping the beach pristine. The bank was keen to help out however it could, and we hope to do more in the future.”
The crew’s work resulted in Collingwood Beach being named in 2013 the cleanest in NSW under the Clean Beaches program run by the federal government’s Department of the Environment.
“We also came in the top five nationally,” John Hives said.
“You can’t run two years in a row, but we’ll back for the 2015 competition.”
The crew cleans the beach from the rocks at the Vincentia end right up to Moona Moona Creek, with one member, Annette Cape, spending two hours a week actually cleaning up around Moona Moona Creek bridge and car park.
“I see the bridge as the gateway to Vincentia and decided to keep it as clean as possible. When I started about three years ago it was filthy. Fishermen leave a lot of waste on and around the bridge.”
Many members of the crew do some cleaning every day when they come down to the beach for a walk or a swim.
Member Gloria Holland said they find all sorts of things left in the sand.
“Cameras, wallets, towels, clothing, kid’s toys. And of course horrible garbage like cigarette butts, plastic waste and worst of all – dog poop!”
“It’s a dog-free beach,” said Gloria’s mother, Sally Holland.
“And it’s locals who are the worst offenders. When we remind them they shouldn’t be walking their dogs on Collingwood Beach some are very nasty to us.
“On the other hand, tourists are often very complimentary about our efforts.”