Organisations across Cape York are working together to launch a campaign to educate people about the need to deal with their rubbish responsibly when travelling around the Cape. Funded by the Queensland Government and coordinated by Cape York NRM, the campaign will target both locals and tourists and urge them to plan ahead for responsible waste disposal before they even hit the road.   

There is limited waste disposal infrastructure on Cape York, which makes waste disposal difficult, but travellers could help reduce rubbish by planning ahead and making sure they know where waste disposal stations are located.    

Other impacts from travelling can include the spreading of weeds and starting of fires, which cost land managers on Cape York thousands of dollars to fix every year.

A key reason people travel in Cape York is to experience the beautiful natural environment however increased littering and illegal dumping were becoming a problem.  Travellers can help minimise the impacts by following a few simple tips:

  • Pack minimal plastics and choose cans, which can be crushed, rather than bottles to keep their rubbish to a minimum
  • Transport rubbish back home where there are facilities to deal it; and use sturdy rubbish bags
  • Pack bulk water, and avoid single use plastics
  • Respect the environment and help to keep Cape York clean
  • Bury toilet paper at least 30 cm below the ground
  • To avoid spreading weeds - wash down your car, and shake out your boots and camping gear, to remove weeds and their seeds
  • Take 3 - if everyone were to remove three items of rubbish when they travel, it would make a huge difference
  • Participate in a Tangaroa Blue Cape York beach clean-up 

The Broader Campaign

Thoughtful Travelling Cape York is an alliance of Cape York organisations working together to reduce the damaging environmental impacts caused by people travelling on Cape York. Rubbish, spreading weeds, illegal dumping, unplanned fire and illegal access can all create longer term problems for the environment.

The key organisations currently involved in Thoughtful Travelling Cape York include: Cape York Natural Resource Management, South Cape York Catchments, Tangaroa Blue, Cook Shire Council, Cape York Weeds and Feral Animals Inc, Weipa and Western Cape Tourism, Lama Lama Rangers, Yuku Baja Muliku Land Trust, Tourism Cape York, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve, Western Cape Turtle Threat Abatement Alliance, Wenlock Catchment Management Group, Protect Cape York and Regional and Remote Newspapers.

This project is supported by the Queensland Government's Litter and Illegal Dumping Community and Industry Partnerships Program.

Thoughtful Travelling Cape York held two events to launch this campaign:

  • Weipa - Wednesday 14 September 2016 (5pm at Lake Patricia)
  • Cooktown – Friday 16 September 2016 (7pm at Nature’s Power House)

Reporting and Fines

The Queensland Government encourages travellers to report illegal dumping incidents online at https://report-littering-dumping.ehp.qld.gov.au/ or to the Litter and Illegal Dumping Unit on 13 QGOV (13 74 68) or by emailing illegaldumping@ehp.qld.gov.au. Fines start from $1884.

Cape York Keep It Clean Photo: Lyndal Scobell