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Highway Hippies, take to the streets

Bryan McGrath and Ethan Marsh with a pile of rubbish collected within a few metres, along the Gwydir Highway, last week.  Bryan helps out with the logistics side of the rubbish collection, by picking up the full garbage bags from the side of the highway and removing heavier items like tyres, and metal etc. Pic: Lynne Mowbray
Bryan McGrath and Ethan Marsh with a pile of rubbish collected within a few metres, along the Gwydir Highway, last week.
Bryan helps out with the logistics side of the rubbish collection, by picking up the full garbage bags from the side of the highway and removing heavier items like tyres, and metal etc. Pic: Lynne Mowbray

Lynne Mowbray

A young couple from Eatonsville (west of Grafton), have taken to the streets in an effort to clean up the side of our roads, by picking up rubbish which has been discarded by motorists.
Ethan Marsh, who has only lived in the Clarence Valley for a couple of months, didn’t realise just how much rubbish lay along the side of the roads until he went for a walk recently along the Gwydir Highway.
This inspired Ethan and his girlfriend Seina Hatazoe to grab a garbage bag and start walking the roadside to pick up the rubbish thrown out by careless motorists.
After taking to the street, the pair took to social media and set up a Facebook page to get the message (of what they are doing) out there, in the hope that other people would take up the challenge and collect a bag or two of rubbish in their area.
Ethan said that they want to encourage the public to join their Facebook page to let them know the areas around the valley where rubbish needs cleaning up.
“We all need to take ownership for the rubbish – the Clarence Valley is our backyard,” said Ethan.
“It’s not about us (Seina and himself). We want other people to get involved.”
“If every person in Australia filled up a bag, imagine the difference we’d see.”
Within a 4klm section of the Gwydir Highway last week, Ethan said that they had collected a total of 21 bags of rubbish that filled up a skip bin which was generously donated by JR Richards and Sons.
Grafton farmer, who only wished to be known as Roy, said that he had been a farmer for 48 years on his property which fronts the Gwydir Highway.
Roy applauded the vision and work of Ethan and Seina after losing one of his prize Jersey cows that had choked on a piece of plastic, which had blown into his paddock from the side of the highway.
Ethan said that he wanted the community to know that despite his appearance (sporting tattoos and piercings) he is not a dole bludger, with nothing to do with his spare time.
“I actually work around 40 hours a week at a clothing store in Prince Street, Grafton,” he said.
“People tell me that they don’t have time to collect rubbish, because they work – well so do I.
“I usually do a couple of hours before I start work, or even on the weekend.
“It’s a great way to spend a Sunday, taking a walk out in the fresh air and cleaning up our community at the same time.”
Ethan is hoping that their initiative will spread and that schools, clubs and individuals will come on board and ‘adopt a park’ or maintain a stretch of riverbank along our beautiful river and that together we can clean up our valley and take pride in where we live.
For more information go to: The Highway Hippies Facebook page.

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