A small group of environmentalists have taken on the monumental task of safeguarding the vast Northeast Arnhem Land marine wildlife from a tide of plastic pollution.
Their once pristine beach is now ravaged by pollution, mainly from foreign sources, and turtles are feeling the worst of it.
Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation rangers look after 70 kilometres of beaches tarnished by marine debris within their Indigenous Protected Area.
Established by Yolngu land-owners in Northeast Arnhem Land, they are set to represent the Northern Territory on a national stage after winning the Virgin Coastcare title at the Northern Territory Landcare Awards.
"The Yolngu people are at the front line of the international marine debris problem," project facilitator for Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation Luke Playford said.
He said Dhimurru and its rangers are on the ground facing a plastic crisis threatening to destroy the culture of the Arnhem Coast and the much needed tourism industry.
"The rubbish has historically been waste from fisheries, these days it is increasingly domestic: hairbrushes, shampoo bottles and cigarette lighters from the Indo-Pacific region, mostly Indonesia," Mr Playford said.
The coastline is an important nesting habitat for marine turtles.
It is also an internationally significant breeding spot of the Bridled and Roseate Terns.
Mr Playford said the coastline is being inundated with some of the highest densities of rubbish in the world.
Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation will go on to represent NT while competing for the Virgin Coastcare title at the National Landcare Awards in 2020.
Andrew Sellick, sustainability manager for Virgin Australia, commended the corporation on their outstanding accomplishments.
"Virgin Australia is proud to celebrate the inspiring work of community groups across Australia protecting and preserving our precious and vulnerable marine environments," Mr Sellick said.
"A hugely deserved winner, Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation has significantly contributed to the protection of Australian turtles and international shorebird species.
"Through their tireless work, they have helped safeguard a significant breeding ground and we're incredibly proud to help shine a light on their important efforts."
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