The Gulf of Carpentaria is a remote and vast landscape of coastline, estuaries and wetlands in northern Australia.
The region is home to an abundance of unique wildlife including dugongs, marine turtles, migratory shorebirds as well as important mangroves and wetlands that play a significant role in sequestering carbon.
For such a remote area of Australia, you would expect it to be pristine. Unfortunately, tonnes of rubbish is polluting the region every year.
Ocean currents are pulling rubbish, largely single use plastics from international waters, into the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Discarded fishing nets the size of football fields are washing up on the shore entangled with drowned sea turtles.
Seasonal tourism is also bringing waste into the area and with no waste processing infrastructure in the region, it has nowhere to go.
Earthwatch Australia has been awarded a grant by the Coca-Cola Australia Foundation to undertake their ‘Wetlands Not Wastelands’ initiative to develop the marine pollution and wetland management program.
Earthwatch Australia will collaborate with Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation and recycling experts Plastic Collective to introduce two plastic recycling machines into the region and train local rangers on how to use them to upcycle waste products into valuable commercial products, creating social enterprise that further supports the local community.
Find out more at earthwatch.org.au
Frames from interview shoot with Earthwatch Australia CEO Cassandra Nichols as part of the program launch video: