Award-winning volunteers back on a cleaner track

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The Birdsville Track is looking tidy

A group of volunteers who pick up rubbish along South Australia’s iconic Outback tracks have been awarded a Landcare Australia award in the innovative community group category.

Since its beginning in 2007, the Great Tracks Cleanup Crew has covered tens of thousands of kilometres, collecting and carrying away mountains of refuse and, by doing so, dramatically improving the travelling experience of grey nomads and others.

This year, the group concentrated their efforts on the Birdsville and Strzelecki Tracks. During one week in July, a convoy of 10 separate vehicles covered 1,582 kilometres each, with volunteers collected approximately 69.3 tonnes of garbage, including everything from truck tyres to bottles and cans.

Clean-up co-ordinator Stuart Paxton says the group is beginning to get through the heavier waste and focus on general rubbish.

“We got a refund of $750.10 from all the bottles and cans we picked up this year,” he told the ABC. “Previous years we could only concentrate on the bigger heavy tyres and steel and stuff, so each year it’s getting cleaner and cleaner and we’re picking up more of the smaller rubbish.”

Mr Paxton says he’s pleased the group’s work is appreciated.

“We have tourists come up and just hand us donations because they are very impressed with what we’ve been doing and it does make a big difference,” he told the ABC. “It’s a great honour to do the work and to get it clean, because it’s all about looking after this great tourism aspect of South Australia.”

Have you noticed less rubbish around on Australia’s iconic tracks? What tracks do you think could to with a clean-up? Do you pick up other people’s rubbish when you travel. Comment below.


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