ECO Barge Services will now be able to run a further three island clean up trips this year thanks to inspirational volunteers Ben Ware and Deborah Cooper who sold marine debris at the Whitsunday Lions market in Airlie Beach on Saturday.
Already a passionate volunteer for Eco Barge Services, Ben saw his chance to bring the public's attention to their important environmental work cleaning up marine debris from Whitsunday Islands and coastlines and reducing the hazards posed to turtles and other marine life.
Shocked that Eco Barge doesn't yet have full financial backing, Ben came up with the idea of selling his trash for cash.
Once people heard what was happening, there were queues of market-goers with their dollars ready to buy everything from bottle tops to thongs.
One boot even made $500.
Enthusiasm ran so high that residents from Bowen and Mackay invited Ben to bring his concept to their towns to publicise the work of Eco Barge Services.
After selling some of the rubbish, at the end of the day a total of 41 kilograms of debris including 60 metres of rope, 26 shoes and more than 70 in-tact plastic bottles was left over from the debris clean-up last week at Cane Cockies Bay.
Eco Barge director Libby Edge said it was overwhelming to see the extent of community backing for Eco Barge Services.
“People are so supportive of the urgent need to clear our region of marine debris that they're actually willing to buy rubbish,” she said. Eco Barge Services will be at the markets again this Saturday.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.