This geocaching adventure however, was a little different. It was a "Cache In Trash Out" event cache (aka a CITO) at which participating cachers log their attendance and then spend some time cleaning their surroundings of litter or weeds or undertaking other environmental initiatives such as tree-planting.
This particular CITO was timed to coincide as closely as possible with Earth Day (22nd April) around the world, recognising the need for environmental action. This CITO held in our little part of the world, attracted a small group of determined kayakers who were keen to remove as much junk from the Barwon as possible.
|The crew assembled and ready to paddle|
|Hard at work on the south bank|
|The final haul|
Whilst much of the litter we retrieved was no doubt the result of careless behaviour by river users both on the water and on the bank, some of it had washed in from stormwater run off. This was certainly the case with a collection of bottles and plastics I found near a drain entry point.
It is probably also worth noting, that this is not the first time that Geelong's geocaching community have banded together to tidy up our waterways. at the end of 2013 at what I believe was Geelong's first CITO event, a huge effort was made to clean up along the banks of the Moorabool River at Fyansford.
|Fyansford CITO along the Moorabool December, 2013|
Working only from land on that occasion, a huge amount of rubbish, including dumped furniture and significant amounts of household rubbish was removed from the area and from memory, we only scratched the surface on that occasion. Whilst illegal dumping seemed to be a large part of the problem here, the irresponsible dropping of litter seems to be more of a problem on the Barwon - especially through town.
The occasional CITO may not be much, but it is a start and hopefully if more people become aware of the problem, steps can be taken not only to clean up the rivers, but to prevent rubbish from entering our waterways in the first place. These days when I paddle, I always take some rubbish with me when I leave. If everyone who used the river did the same, or though about how they disposed of their litter it would be a much cleaner place.