A photo of two smiling friends with their arms around one another with two large bags of rubbish in front of them.

Published on 23 February 2024

Clean Up Australia Day in Onkaparinga

Friends Megan and Sue had been meeting weekly to walk together for about two years when Sue had the idea to start collecting litter along the way.

“We started along the seafront, but then Sue said maybe it’d be a good idea to do a different track,” Megan explains of the retirees’ decision to begin walking in Huntfield Heights and Hackham late last year.

“We did that a few times before Sue said, why don’t we pick up rubbish along the way? There was a lot there. So, we started doing that.”

Armed with gloves and a large black garbage bag each, the pair had no trouble filling up their bags during their seven-or-eight-kilometre walks. But they soon realised lugging a big bag of rubbish with them wasn’t the most convenient way to do it.

“We’re getting more clever now and we’ve got a trolley each that we use,” Megan says of their weekly tradition, which also includes a post-walk coffee and cake.

 “The cyclists say, ‘good work girls!’ as they go past.”

Stories like Sue and Megan’s are at the heart of Clean Up Australia Day, which is coming up on Sunday 3 March and encourages people to make a difference in their own backyard.

The annual awareness day is Australia’s largest community-based environmental event and has seen more than 20-million Australians step up over the years, donating their time to improve the environment.

There are lots of ways you can get involved, including by registering your own clean up or joining an existing clean up, or by donating to the cause and helping empower more Australians to take action.

There are already more than a dozen clean ups registered in the City of Onkaparinga, with several of them open to the public to join, including around Port Noarlunga South, Morphett Vale’s Noor Mosque, the Onkaparinga River Recreation Park (with the Friends of Onkaparinga Park Inc.), Christie Creek (with the Adopt a Spot team), Aldinga’s Masroor Garden, and the McDonalds restaurant teams in Aldinga Beach and Reynella.

Other clean-ups organised for Onkaparinga that aren’t open to the public include those at several primary schools including Aberfoyle Park and Morphett Vale, and in spots in Tatachilla and Port Willunga.

The City of Onkaparinga supports Clean Up Australia Day by promoting the event, providing advice to the community on potential clean-up sites, and doing additional waste collections for participants when required.

Megan and Sue encourage everyone to get involved with cleaning up litter in their local community because of the benefits to the environment, but also—when paired with a walk—the benefits to your health.

“Environment, exercise, mental wellbeing and health-wise, fresh air,’ Megan says, adding that the sense of achievement you get from giving back to the community is fulfilling too.

Asked for any tips for the community in keeping litter off the streets, the pair say to take any rubbish home with you to put in the bin, and to make sure your kerbside bin lid is properly closed so litter doesn’t get blown out (a council-subsidised bin latch can help with this!).

And, they say, if you are inspired to grab a bag on your walk—don’t forget your gloves.