September 1st 2009
Last Saturday night there was a large beach party at the far end of Horseshoe Bay. When daylight returned visitors to the beach were to discover a stinking mess of broken bottles, cans and other rubbish spread out over a wide area and surrounding a fireplace, the flames of which could have easily gotten away from the drunken party goers who are believed to have been attending the 18th birthday of a young man from Nelly Bay.
Yesterday morning Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers attended the scene and QPWS Ranger, Jo Petersen, told Magnetic Times, “This has been an ongoing problem for us, as QPWS is using valuable resources (staff time) to clean up after parties. This year alone we have cleaned up after numerous parties, very often in Nelly Bay, a bad one in Balding Bay and in Horseshoe Bay.
“It is one of the worst I've seen and locals need to know that this is happening a lot” said Jo who went on to say, “And to make it worse, it appears that it is locals making a mess of the place and leaving it for others to clean up – young people and adults. There is a huge lack of respect for their island. They can bring this stuff in but can’t seem to manage to take it back out.
Burn and broken bottles and cansBottles tossed under the treesThe mess was spread over a wide areaThe collected rubbish
“The location of their fire is another issue. In this case they had the party amongst highly flammable dune vegetation. At such a dry time of year, with drunk people, this a recipe for disaster. I looked around and noticed there had been numerous fires recently in the same area. The fires are being left full of broken glass and not extinguished or covered up with sand.”
Clearly disappointed by the broken glass, and litter scattered far and wide, Jo Petersen said, “These people are trashing our beautiful Island.”
People can receive a maximum penalty of $16,500 for leaving an unattended fire. Rangers also have the power to direct people to extinguish a fire if they reasonably believe the fire can become a hazard i.e. start a wildfire.
Jo Petersen added, "We’re not trying to stop people having fun but they need to be responsible and clean up their mess, make sure the fire is out and covered by sand – leave no trace".
The maximum penalty for littering under the QLD Marine Parks Act is $2000.
Story: George Hirst
Photos courtesy QPWS
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