13 November 2021

Get down and dirty to help clean up our beloved Lake Burley Griffin - CANCELLED

| Lottie Twyford
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Woman walking along Lake near Sir Robert Menzies statue.

During lockdown, Lake Burley Griffin offered a much-needed escape from our own four walls. Now it needs our help. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

UPDATE: Due to the weather forecast tomorrow, the Clean-up Lake Burley Griffin Day has been cancelled.

Whether you’re a casual walker or runner making use of the classic five-kilometre loop; a runner or bike rider taking a longer route; or a rower, dragon boater or go-boater out on the water (or even a brave swimmer); or you’re just happy picnicking, pretty much every Canberran loves the lake.

During lockdown, countless people descended on its shores, desperate to get out of the house for some fresh air and, for a time, partake in the only social interaction we were permitted – picnics and walks.

Unfortunately, loving Lake Burley Griffin doesn’t always translate to treating it well, and now it’s time for Canberrans to give old LBG a bit of TLC.

This weekend, Sunday 14 November, marks the annual Clean Up Lake Burley Griffin event.

Held as part of National Recycling Week, it’s a day for Canberrans to come down and clean the lake’s shores and waters of any unsightly junk.

three people on kayaks in the lake on clean up day last year

On-the-water volunteers in action last year. Photo: Clean-Up Lake Burley Griffin Day.

Since 2018, groups that regularly use the lake have been annually joining forces to do a clean-up – and now the event is open to the public.

Unfortunately, items such as prams are occasionally given to the lake as “presents”, event organiser Tammy Van Denge said.

Some of the strangest things ever found in the lake include an inflatable mattress, a drill, an iPhone, car parts like tyres, mouthguards and – perhaps most disgustingly of all – dirty nappies.

Having been involved for a couple of years, Tammy says the more rain there’s been, the weirder the collection of unearthed items becomes.

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Last year, “volunteers on foot, dragon boat, kayak, canoe, rowing tinnies and stand-up paddleboards took part in Clean-up Lake Burley Griffin Day,” Tammy said.

“These volunteers collected over 100 bags of rubbish as well as many other plastic and industrial items that were too big to fit into the bags themselves.”

Tammy hopes to see even more “Ken Behrens” get involved this year, “especially as the lockdown made us appreciate our outdoor resources like Lake Burley Griffin even more.”

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Interested? Registration booths will be placed at four locations around the lake, including the Burley Griffin Canoe Club across from Duntroon; Capital Lakes Rowing Club at Grevillea Park; Black Mountain Peninsula – near the main toilet block, and Weston Park near the Playstation.

People are encouraged to come down for as little or as long as they can.

Volunteers are also required to wear gloves and enclosed shoes and all children under 16 will need to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Anyone planning on using their own watercraft must also wear a lifejacket or personal floatation device.

COVID check-in requirements will be enforced on the day.

Learn more about Clean up Lake Burley Griffin Day or see their Facebook page for updates.

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