Northern Beaches Clean Up Crew's focus on the environment

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Northern Beaches Clean Up Crew was founded by Manly woman Malin Frick as a way to make a difference to the environment. Picture: Simon Bennett
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Northern Beaches Clean Up Crew was founded by Manly woman Malin Frick as a way to make a difference to the environment. Picture: Simon Bennett

What did NSW Northern Beaches local Malin Frick do when she spotted some rubbish by the beach? She picked it up and that action has inspired the actions of hundreds of people. Journalist Nadine Morton sat down with her to find out more.

"WE do find weird and wonderful things. At Freshwater Beach, we found a very old dinosaur suit.

We've found an exercise bike that someone tried to bury in the sand at Dee Why Beach. We've found a motorbike that someone tried to get rid of in the grassy area at Dee Why Beach. We've found sofas, big chairs, lots of bicycles that are broken and shopping trolleys."

Northern Beaches Clean Up Crew was started by me just picking up rubbish. When I was a little kid growing up in Sweden we took turns every week at the school that I was at to clean our local beach. It's something that I've done my entire life, I can't go past a piece of rubbish, especially on the beautiful beaches we have here.

Knowing the consequences of single use plastic, it can entangle, injure and kill animals so I just started picking it up and people saw it. They approached me and asked what I was doing and I just explained it and then they wanted to join.

We have all different accents and religions and colours. That's what I love about it the most.

I couldn't really keep in contact with all these people so I started a Facebook page and started to create monthly events and more and more people joined.

When we started we had five people. Then we were really happy when we got 20 people and we said 'wow, we're doing amazing, we've got 20 people'.

Now we've actually had events with over 100. We have people coming with the babies hanging from their back or their chest, we've got three-year-olds, we've got 93-year-olds. We have all different accents and religions and colours. That's what I love about it the most.

I'm no longer surprised by what we find, but I do find it quite joyful because we do have a lot of children who join our clean up and they do like to try and find the weirdest item. I always say to them nature pays you back for doing a good deed and sometimes we find $20 notes, that always keeps them motivated to come back and do more cleaning.

We go to different spots each month, but always on the northern beaches at a lagoon or a beach, all the way from Manly up to Palm Beach. It doesn't matter where we go there's always rubbish and it's really sad.

One thing we've particularly noticed is Shelly Beach, which is beside Cabbage Tree Bay.

The council's put 13 bins there and they are cleaning that beach regularly on a Saturday. We come there on a Sunday and people say 'oh you'll never find anything because there's 13 bins, the council clean this beach' but we've found furniture and carpets, people throw it in the bush.

Food wrappers are the most common thing we find: chocolate bars, fast food wraps like from McDonald's and other fast food chains. Cigarette butts are very common on the beaches.

We did find a margarine container that had a best before date of January 4, 1988. It just proves how long that plastic lays around for. We also found a yoghurt container from the '80s. We found a Medicare card that expired in 1986."

The next clean up is on Sunday, November 29 at Dee Why. Find out more on the group's Facebook or Instagram pages.

  • The Northern Beaches Clean Up Crew recently received a $10,000 Westfield Local Hero grant and Ms Frick will use the funds to buy a trailer and gumboots for children.
This story 'Please behave like animals': dinosaur suit was just the beginning for clean-up crew first appeared on Northern Beaches Review.