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Sarah searches Moruya River for litter source

“If all we do is clean-up, then that’s all we’ll ever do”.

Moruya High School student Sarah Burnes did more than her share of litter clearing this month – helping to collect, sort and record eight kilograms of rubbish from along the Moruya estuary.

“Today I learnt the importance of the saying, ‘If all we do is clean-up, then that’s all we’ll ever do’,” Sarah said.

“I was lucky enough to be taken down to an estuary in Moruya, along the beautiful Moruya River, a place that I had driven by so many times but hadn’t realised the true beauty of.

“While down at the estuary, I took part in a thorough clean-up of the area and was surprised by the amount of discarded plastics and other rubbish we found. Over 75% of the litter removed was made of plastic, so it is super important that we do our part and stay committed.”

Sarah joined Eurobodalla Council to take part in the clean-up. She said she learnt it was as important to record information about the litter as pick it up.

Above: Sarah Burnes spent a day with the shire’s marine debris working group, picking up litter and recording it on her phone app. Sarah says cleaning up is not enough, litter needs to be stopped at the source.

“Sorting through the 8 kilograms of rubbish, we put it into groups. Then I had the job of adding all the information into a really helpful app that records clean-ups all over Australia.

The app was developed by the environmental organisation Tangaroa Blue. Sara said the app allows the type and amount of rubbish to be recorded.

“Identifying the source of the debris gives us a chance to stop it,” she said.

“These clean-up activities are a valuable way to engage the community and raise public awareness, while also providing important information into the condition of surrounding coastal areas.”

Sarah said aside from the environmental benefits, she found the experience of personal value.

“It was a really peaceful, therapeutic experience and I found myself appreciating the surrounding scenery even more by the end of the clean-up. It also made me feel glad to know that I was helping the environment, and it was a bunch of fun.

“Overall it was a really eye-opening experience and I would love to go again.”

To download the app, visit For more information about the marine debris working group, visit

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