The Coca-Cola Australia Foundation (CCAF) has teamed up with Earthwatch to tackle marine pollution and rejuvinate the Lower Gulf of Carpentaria.
The $600,000 partnership will see Earthwatch, in conjunction with the Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation (CLCAC) and recycling group Plastic Collective, train 20 CLCAC Indigenous Land and Environmental Rangers to manage their ‘Wetlands not Wastelands’ program.
An additional 30 community volunteers will also be trained to support their efforts. The program, which will run for three years, will cover the Gulf region from the Northern Territory border to Staaten Rive to Cape York, spanning hundreds of kilometres.
It aims to address pollution which is a key threat to local ecosystems in the popular tourist destination and boost recycling infrastructure in the area. The program will also work to conserve the habitats of local dugongs, sea turtles and migratory shorebirds, as well as mangrove and salt marsh wetlands.
Collected plastic waste will also be upcycled via two plastic collective ‘shruder’ (plastic recycling) machines and turned into commercial products to create economic and social enterprise opportunities within the community.
Chair of the CCAF Malcolm Hudson said it furthered their commitment to help address the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.
“Driven by science and delivered by the local community, this program will trial a sustainable, community-based solution to managing and recycling marine pollution in remote regions. Once this model is proven, it could potentially be replicated in many other regional and remote locations in Australia and around the world.”