How did we get to this? Rubbish ruins the Outback

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Strzelecki Track litter problem out of control
The Great Tracks Clean-Up-Crew has cleared more than 700 tonnes of rubbish. PIC: Great Tracks Cleanup crew/ABC

Most grey nomads are well aware that the blight of litter can affect even the remotest of Outback spots, but the scale of the problem is still mind-boggling.

This year, the Great Tracks Cleanup Crew cleared more than 50 tonnes of rubbish from South Australia’s Strzelecki Track.

Track coordinator, Stuart Paxton, told the ABC that the amount of tourist rubbish was increasing each year and, alarmingly, it often reappeared just days after having been cleared.

“We drove back where we had been but not picking up because we’d already done it, and the amount of rubbish that we were seeing within five or 10 kilometres of Lyndhurst was just disgusting,” he said. “It’s an eyesore in an iconic area.”

The Great Tracks Cleanup Crew was formed in 2007 and each year, they choose an Outback track to focus on.

This year, the crew spent seven days on the Strzelecki, picking up rubbish from Quorn to Lyndhurst and along the track.

“We picked up 358 whole tyres and 70% of those would’ve been heavy truck tyres,” Mr Paxton said. “At Wilochra Creek bridge, it was like someone pulled up onto it and dumped about 30 or 40 tyres off the top … a couple of stoves, televisions and stereo systems were also dumped off the bridge.”

In South Australia’s Outback, the tyranny of distance means bins and dumping points are not common sights.

“If it was a bitumen highway then they could easily put in large steel bins,” Mr Paxton told the ABC. “But a rubbish truck going up the Strzelecki or the Birdsville or Oodnadatta tracks would just about fall to pieces on the corrugations … until the roads are bitumenised, it’s not a cost-effective way.”

This year’s clean-up involved 28 volunteers, 10 four-wheel-drives with trailers and a camp kitchen.

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8 Responses to How did we get to this? Rubbish ruins the Outback

  1. An absolute disgrace, but well done to the clean up crew

  2. Welldone to the clean up crew and a damn disgrace to who ever did this,in the first place people just don’t care you only have to check out some backyards out there …

  3. Yes
    What a disgrace
    Not only the outback is ruined.
    We live on a nice rural road in rural area 12 min from a small township.
    I always pick up rubbish. It is terrible people eat maccas KFC then just chuck out the rubbish. Put it in the bin at home. Two days ago I found a nappy in the creek crossing our road goes through.
    Since the 10 cent refund has come in QLD I.ve pocketed hundreds of dollars from cleaning our road.
    It is dreadful to think where society is heading if people can’t use a bin thinking throw it out of the car is the answer.

    • I walk of a morning, 2ks out and 2 ks back along a rural road and I pick up a garbage bag of rubbish once a week. Long necks, soft drink cans etc and Macca Maccas Maccas. There are just a lot of grubs living among us. Beside the river bridge the other morning I found where someone had sat and drank 6 VB longnecks and just threw all the empties, the shrink wrap, the bottle tops on the ground and drove off. Love to catch the bastards.

  4. Yes …. and turning the stops into toilets. Literally s#!t on the ground with paper on top, not even an attempt to bury it. Yes alot will have come from backpackers but I know for a fact that truckies take a dump (often up againt their tyre ) and drive off, yes and drop off unwanted tyres.

  5. I can’t believe grey nomads would be dumping stoves, televisions, stereo systems and all those tyres. Not many caravans, camper trailers, motorhomes would have the space to be carrying such loads.

  6. This is nothing new. Our farm gate was 2 miles from town; not a bottle for those first 2 miles and then dozens for the next mile or so. Drinking distance. Big bottles, not stubbies. That was back in the 50’s. Every now and then we would go and pick them up. 1/2 penny a bottle.

  7. Lack of common sense, or laziness? Whilst spending several weeks at a camping ground that had 2 waste takers side by side near the amenities block, which by pickup day the bin nearest the amenities was full and overflowing, smelly and attracting flies. Only 2 steps away the other bin was almost empty.

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