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Lachie Buys is dirty but satisfied after a hard day’s work cleaning up bottles and rubbish dumped at Carrs Drive, Yamba. Image: Contributed

If one brown bottle should accidentally fall

Geoff Helisma|

“Now the area is clean again, hopefully that will discourage people to stop dumping; it might be a deterrent to not pollute the same place again,” says Nero Buys.

Nero Buys and his son Lachie, 7, have picked up more than 2,320 “mostly longneck beer bottles” at the end of Carrs Drive, Yamba, along with other dumped rubbish.

The father and son team completed their clean-up on three consecutive Wednesdays.

Dumped near a popular fishing and boat-launching area, most of the bottles, says Nero, were found on the western side of Carr’s Drive, perhaps meaning people “have a drink when they are there and throw the bottles on the side of the road on their way back out”.

Lachie says he is “disappointed and sad about people polluting nature” and thinks people must have “a broken mind to be able to throw rubbish into a beautiful area”.

“I want to help nature and clean up the planet, mainly to help nature out,” he says.

Nero says, “There were cartons of bottles in one spot.

“That’s a sign that people are dumping there [too], not just throwing bottles out on their way home.

“But, pretty much all of the bottles were long neck [beer] bottles, so I think it’s [mostly] repeat offenders.”

On the first Wednesday they picked up over 500 bottles; on the second, Nero counted 860, and on the third day the bottle count topped 960.

“We just saw the [high] level of rubbish when we were riding our bikes down there,” says Nero.

“Lachie goes, ‘Look at all this rubbish … can we do something about it?’

“So I borrowed my father’s ute and we chipped away at it – we just saw a problem that we could fix.”

Unfortunately, the return and earn scheme does not accept old, dirty bottles without their labels attached, so most of the bottles were dumped at the waste centre in Townsend – free of charge, however, payment was required to dump the other rubbish.

Lachie wound up paying himself $25 from those bottles that could be returned, however, that was never a motivation.

“We did it to clean up the environment … and would do it again without receiving a cent,” Nero says.

Time for a short break before Nero and Lachie Buys load the fruit of their day’s labour. Image: Peter Eggington