Backpackers are blamed for almost everything in Byron from drunken revelry to stealing local jobs, so it’s great to discover that some overseas visitors have been spending their time in our region helping to clean up other people’s messes.
Every year for the past 15 years, Backpackers Inn general manager Dougall Pennefather has organised a group of willing volunteers to scour the sand dunes between the Shirley Street hostel and the Wreck.
Yesterday a group covered a 50m wide stretch each side of the path that leads to the beach in the Cavvanbah dunes.
‘I have done it once a year,’ he said, ‘and this year was exceptionally bad.’
‘This can be attributed to the large number of illegal campers that stay here throughout the year nowadays. The amount of rubbish collected yesterday was astounding and will fill up two four cubic metre bins.
‘There were also three large camps with people in them which we cleaned around.’
Mr Pennefather said yesterday’s group of 12 volunteers (pictured) from Canada, USA, Holland, Germany, Australia and France spent three hours cleaning out all the rubbish including old tents, mattresses, couches, bike frames, eskies, gas cooker canisters and thousands of bottles (plastic and glass).
‘All my volunteers were shocked by the amount of rubbish accumulated in the dunes in one year but at the same time felt a sense of pride they had contributed to the cleanup of our beautiful dunes and amazing town,’ he said.