Scarborough running group forms to clean beaches

Avi Melniker, Jenna Walkowiak, Pippa and Niamh Dempsey (4) have formed Responsible Runners to clean up local beaches. Inset: Rubbish collected at Mettam's Pool.  Main picture: Andrew Ritchie         d456942
Scarborough running group forms to clean beaches
Avi Melniker, Jenna Walkowiak, Pippa and Niamh Dempsey (4) have formed Responsible Runners to clean up local beaches. Inset: Rubbish collected at Mettam's Pool. Main picture: Andrew Ritchie        d456942

A PASSIONATE group of Scarborough beachgoers has brought an international environmental movement to Perth coastlines.

Responsible Runners Scarborough is part of a global community aiming to reduce single use waste and clean up the beachfront by holding regular beach clean-up events.

After living in Bondi for 12 years, Avi Melniker said she noticed a lack of beach clean-up groups when she moved to Perth.

“In Bondi, if you were really passionate about sustainability or you just wanted to hang out, you always knew there would be group of people down at the beach having fun and doing a clean-up on a Sunday,” she said.

“Responsible runners originally started with a group of soft sand runners who were tired of stepping on rubbish and cigarette butts.

“There are groups in Indonesia and the US, and they are all over Australia but there wasn’t one in Perth, not even Fremantle.”

Co-founder Pippa Dempsey said the group was a way to teach her children about conserving the environment.

“I was doing this every time I went to the beach anyway but I’m really passionate about reducing our own personal waste and teaching my kids about that,” she said.

“I wanted to meet other people who did it so I wasn’t walking around with a bag cleaning up all by myself.”

In 15 minutes, the group found a significant amount of rubbish at Mettam’s Pool, according to co-founder Jenna Walkowiak.

“The fact that you can pick up that much in just 15 minutes shows there is a need,” she said.

“We find cigarette butts and a lot of plastic, especially plastic lollipop sticks.”

“Perth can really lack a sense of community when it comes to environmental aspects so if we can do something to create awareness and build community, that would be the best outcome.

“We’d love to get some awareness through events with local schools.”

Ms Melniker said she hoped the group would change community attitudes towards environmental responsibility.

“It’s power in numbers, it’s more fun and hopefully it will change the culture of the community. I’m really proud a group like this exists in Scarborough now, especially with the redevelopment and community that will be here; we don’t quite know what the new identity of the community is yet,” she said.

To get involved as a runner or walker visit www.facebook.com/|groups/responsiblerunnersscarborough.

Responsible Runners will hold its next clean-up at City Beach on July 31 from 9.30am.