Those who carelessly drop and go in our open spaces are as filthy as the rubbish they discard.
We used to call them litterbugs, but that terms sounds too sweet, too childlike.
They are grubs. They are a blight on our community and our landscape.
And while they clearly don’t care, we are blessed that there are many who do and are prepared to get their hands dirty in cleaning up their mess – or some of it at least.
At the end of last month, almost 700 volunteers performed a massive emu parade across Sunshine Coast beaches to ready them for the pitter patter of tiny flippers.
Turtle hatchlings are beginning to emerge from their sandy entombments and make their way seaward for the fight of their lives.
The council holds a rubbish rally yearly to help clear the way.
Turtles have become the surprise poster kids of the plastic-free push, because the tiny beggars confuse soft plastics for jellyfish, their preferred little hors d’oeuvres.
So the council tries to help them out by getting volunteers to pick up as much garbage from the beaches as they can so less of it ends up in the brine.
This was the eighth year of the beach clean and the gathered throng rightly gave themselves a bit of a pat on the back at the free BBQ at the end, having done a good deed for all, and particularly the little shelled critters.
But while the activity is to be lauded and should be continued year on year, one thing just doesn’t ring true to me.
The council crowed that this year, across the 19 locations scoured, 100kg less rubbish was found compared with last year. And last year was down on the year before that.
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Environment portfolio chair Cr Peter Cox said the 500-odd kilos collected was a sign the community was being more responsible in how they process their waste.
Maybe the emu parades were not held across sandy spaces I frequent, but I have one response to the notion we are getting better about our waste disposal: rubbish.
Hooey. Bunkum. Garbage.
Take a walk on any of our beaches as the tide recedes and look: there are fragments and shards galore, articles and items to burn.
I am not suggesting we are reminiscent of Bali or Thailand. I am not saying our beaches look like rubbish tips.
Places such as Teewah and Double Island Point are another matter, with larger items pocking on sweeping stretches of beautiful beach.
On a trip there last weekend, my Beloved and I found items such as buckets, rope, a thong, a castoff shirt and a Chinese food container with so many barnacles it looked like it could have been from China itself.
But even popular Sunshine Coast beaches that are attended to by council cleaners and machine sand sifters have myriad little bits, and it is the little bits that cause great harm to the little flippered ones.
Those who deliberately dump should be named, shamed and fined.
And the rest of us are compelled to step up. On any walk in a community or open space, pick up any piece of rubbish you find directly in your path – even the little bits.
Because every little bit counts.
Jane Stephens is a USC journalism lecturer, media commentator and writer.