SEVENTEEN kayakers were among more than 61,000 volunteers who gave their time to pick up litter on the weekend.
Their efforts were in aid of Clean Up Australia Day, which saw 588,000 people helping to clean up at 7250 places across Australia.
Redlands Kayak Tours owner Katrina Beutel said their group set out on kayaks to clean up the top end of Tingalpa Creek as part of their annual efforts.
Clean Up Australia founder Ian Kiernan said there was a 4 per cent increase in volunteers and a 14 per cent increase in sites compared to last year.
“It’s really great to see so many people passionate about removing rubbish from the places that are important to them,” he said.
Mr Kiernan was in Brisbane for the event, which he started 29 years ago because he wanted to make a difference in his own backyard.
He said he was proud to see so many Australians rallying to the cause.
“But we need to do much more than just pick up rubbish one day a year.
“Making a real difference starts with looking more closely at our personal purchasing behaviour, becoming conscious of the single use products, packaging and plastics that we buy and then discard.
Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said much of the rubbish volunteers picked up was plastic, highlighting the need to reduce the use of bags and containers.
“Close to 1 billion lightweight single-use plastic shopping bags are used in Queensland every year,” she said.
“Our ban on single-use plastic bags, which comes into effect on July 1, aims to reduce the impacts they have on the environment.
“We are also introducing the container refund scheme in November, which will allow Queenslanders to recycle their drink containers, most of which will return a refund of 10 cents.
Mr Kiernan said the most common plastic items clean up volunteers collected were non-food packaging, food packing and beverage containers.