Kids bring in rubbish collected on their Brunswick River paddle from Mullum to Brunswick Heads with event organiser Chris Astill (centre).
Kids bring in rubbish collected on their Brunswick River paddle from Mullum to Brunswick Heads with event organiser Chris Astill (centre).

Clean-up good news for river

There was plenty of good news for those participating in the local Brunswick River clean-up last Friday as part of the International Clean Up the World Weekend.

Firstly, threatening weather held out for the 45 young people from Shearwater and Byron Youth Service who made the 12km paddle from Mullumbimby to Brunswick Heads in a flotilla of kayaks, collecting rubbish and marine debris from the Brunswick River along the way.

And secondly, there was significantly less rubbish than last year.

“The river is surprisingly clean,” event organiser Chris Astill said.

“We got about 200 litres of rubbish this year, compared with 450 litres last year.”

Each year these statistics are entered into an online database and a PADI Project AWARE website which will soon display the results of the global effort.

Mr Astill attributed the rubbish reduction to successful communication and campaigning.

“I think the message is getting out,” he said.

“Events like this mean that the kids get the message and they become custodians and educators.”

As well as helping clean up the Brunswick River, the event, now in its third year, also promotes healthy living and activities for young people.

A festive celebration followed the clean-up effort as participants and friends enjoyed a lunch donated by Mullumbimby businesses including Uncle Tom's Pies, Santos, Dennett's IGA and Devine Quality Meats.

There was also an open-air Zumba class in the park to entertain the crowd.

“This event works fantastically in terms of group dynamics and teaching these young adults about a sense of community,” Mr Astill said.

“It's a really good and positive thing for young people to get involved in.”

Mr Astill said the support of local community businesses and Project AWARE for events like this around the world gave people a chance to see in action the positive impact of thinking globally and acting locally in 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity.

Inter Action Experiential Learning, Cape Byron Kayaks and Go Sea Kayak made the clean-up effort possible through the generous donation of kayaks and canoes, plus kayaking instructors on the day.

Other schools or groups interested in getting involved in the 2011 clean-up can contact Chris Astill on

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