Aboriginal Group protecting Arnhem turtles from 'highest densities of plastic pollution' set to represent NT on national stage

An Aboriginal environmental group safeguarding the vast Northeast Arnhem Land marine wildlife from plastic debris is set to represent NT on a national stage after winning the Virgin Coastcare title at the Northern Territory Landcare Awards.

Established by Yolngu land-owners in Northeast Arnhem Land, Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation look after 70 kilometres of beaches tarnished by marine debris within their Indigenous Protected Area.

An important nesting habitat for marine turtles and internationally significant breeding populations of Bridled and Roseate Terns, the once pristine coastline is being inundated with some of the highest densities of rubbish in the world.

‘The Yolngu people are at the frontline of the international marine debris problem,’ said Luke Playford, Project Facilitator for Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation.

‘Dhimurru and its Rangers are on the ground facing a tide of plastic pollution from foreign sources that threatens to destroy the cultural, natural and tourism values of the Arnhem Coast.’

‘And the rubbish has historically been waste from fisheries, these days it is increasingly domestic: hairbrushes, shampoo bottles and cigarette lighters from the Indo-Pacific region, mostly Indonesia.’

Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation will go on to represent NT while competing for the Virgin Coastcare title at the National Landcare Awards in 2020.

Andrew Sellick, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Manager for Virgin Australia, commended the corporation on their outstanding accomplishments.

‘Virgin Australia is proud to celebrate the inspiring work of community groups across Australia protecting and preserving our precious and vulnerable marine environments,’ said Mr Sellick.

‘A hugely deserved winner, Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation has significantly contributed to the protection of Australian turtles and international shorebird species. Through their tireless work, they have helped safeguard a significant breeding ground and we’re incredibly proud to help shine a light on their important efforts.’

Source: Landcare Australia