The old adage ‘put your money where your mouth is’ is ringing true for a Byron man who is doing his part to save the oceans.
Michal Berti and his 11-year-old daughter Daniela saw a problem and worked out how to fix it in the form of an information sticker they place on public showers around Byron beaches.
Michal says that it was frustrating to keep watching people using beach showers as their own bathroom. ‘We’d keep telling them no to do it and explaining why,’ he said. ‘Having a sign would leave them no excuse for using these kinds of products so, we designed the sticker.’
The message on the signs is simple: if you use detergent a personal health products at public showers, the water goes directly back onto the ocean and has a detrimental effect on marine life. ‘I think most of the people that I’ve seen and told not to do it, they really weren’t aware of the water going straight to the ocean.’
Born in Venezuela, Michal moved to Spain in 2001 then came on holidays to Byron here in 2015 and never left. He works doing graphic design and digital print and is just setting up his little business called ‘Sticky Ideas’.
Berti says that a friend helped him get in touched with council and National Parks to get the thumbs up on posting the stickers. ‘They were really keen for me to do it,’ he said. They thought it was a great idea. There are three stickers on trial at Main Beach for council showers, and five approved on Arakwal National Park Beaches at The Pass, Captain Cook, Wategos, Tallows and Broken Head.
The market value of a work like this could go between $300 to $1000 but Berti fell so strongly about the issue that he financed the work himself. ‘We designed, printed and Installed the stickers ourselves so the cost was only the stock and three or fours hours of work.’
‘I did because I love this place – these beaches are my daughter and my favourite playgrounds. I try teach my daughter and kids that I train in Nippers not only to keep our place clean but to clean it too. if you find rubbish on your way, take it to the bin even if it’s not yours.’
Michal and Daneila says they haven’t seen anyone using detergents at the showers since the stickers went up. ‘If we want a better tomorrow, we have to start doing the right thing now and teach next generations to be better than us.’