Magnetic Island North Queensland
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A young koala's beach adventure

September 1st 2009
No respect

QPWS Rangers clean up the rubbish Last Saturday night there was a large beach party at the far end of Horseshoe Bay. When daylight returned visitors to the beach were to discover a stinking mess of broken bottles, cans and other rubbish spread out over a wide area and surrounding a fireplace, the flames of which could have easily gotten away from the drunken party goers who are believed to have been attending the 18th birthday of a young man from Nelly Bay.

Yesterday morning Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers attended the scene and QPWS Ranger, Jo Petersen, told Magnetic Times, “This has been an ongoing problem for us, as QPWS is using valuable resources (staff time) to clean up after parties. This year alone we have cleaned up after numerous parties, very often in Nelly Bay, a bad one in Balding Bay and in Horseshoe Bay.

“It is one of the worst I've seen and locals need to know that this is happening a lot” said Jo who went on to say, “And to make it worse, it appears that it is locals making a mess of the place and leaving it for others to clean up – young people and adults. There is a huge lack of respect for their island. They can bring this stuff in but can’t seem to manage to take it back out.

Burn and broken bottles and cans

Bottles tossed under the trees

The mess was spread over a wide area

The collected rubbish

“The location of their fire is another issue. In this case they had the party amongst highly flammable dune vegetation. At such a dry time of year, with drunk people, this a recipe for disaster. I looked around and noticed there had been numerous fires recently in the same area. The fires are being left full of broken glass and not extinguished or covered up with sand.”

Clearly disappointed by the broken glass, and litter scattered far and wide, Jo Petersen said, “These people are trashing our beautiful Island.”

People can receive a maximum penalty of $16,500 for leaving an unattended fire. Rangers also have the power to direct people to extinguish a fire if they reasonably believe the fire can become a hazard i.e. start a wildfire.

Jo Petersen added, "We’re not trying to stop people having fun but they need to be responsible and clean up their mess, make sure the fire is out and covered by sand – leave no trace".

The maximum penalty for littering under the QLD Marine Parks Act is $2000.

Story: George Hirst
Photos courtesy QPWS

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

No respect
Wendy Tubman
August 31st 2009
If no one else knows who these people are, they themselves know. If they are locals, they might like to consider going some way to making amends for their totally unacceptable behaviour by responding to the soon-to-be-made call for volunteers to help with the Great Northern Clean Up, which will be convened by Magnetic Island Nature Care Association (MINCA) in October.

I realise that our Parks and WIldlife staff are very overworked and are not paid to monitor people at all hours nor clean up after them - but I'd be happy to see any people caught in the act of desecrating the Island's natural values to be made an example of and have the book thrown at them.
August 31st 2009
Young folk (any folk) having fun in a safe environment is great, but these pictures should be on the shame file!
Hopefully, those involved will take heed and learn to have more respect for our beautiful environment, also learn to have respect for their own future...
Barbara Gibbs
September 1st 2009
It is sad to think that people who are fortunate enough to live in paradise don't have the intelligence to realise it cannot remain paradise if they recklessly abuse it, but it appears to be a cultural subset of the island.
Pam from Picnic Bay Hotel encourqaged liquor companies (Wolf Blass) to create plastic wine bottle to prevent so much broken glass on our beaches (they also save 27% CO2 due to their lightweight design). At World Oceans Day, Pam also informed me that she makes a point of telling her staff to be very conscious of the environment, and if they party on the beach, they are to take everything with them, and not to leave cigarette butts behind.
Maybe Pam could encourage these irresponsible consumers of liquor to do the same...although she is a very busy lady. I wonder if we could set up a system similar to SA where there is a refund for bottles and cans if they return the empties to place of purchase??
September 1st 2009
This is really sad...the future of the island depends on the younger generations acting in a responsible and respectful manner. People should be free to enjoy the beautiful beaches but please be considerate and clear up after yourselves - it's really not that difficult.

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