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Waste warrior cleaning up

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By Lachlan Ellis

A local woman is campaigning to get litter off our streets, and the amount she collects every week will shock you.

Marit de Lange lives in Darley but is originally from the Netherlands, and said the amount of rubbish dumped along roads and pathways in Australia shocked her when she first arrived.

“I’ve lived in Australia for four and a half years now, the first time I documented my litter picking was 2019, that’s the first time I took photos of it. Compared to the Netherlands, I thought Darley had a lot of rubbish,” Ms de Lange told the Moorabool News.

“I saw a lot of rubbish on Grey Street and other streets in the area. I felt really triggered to do something about it, I was a bit annoyed with all the trash. I was thinking, ‘who’s going to do something about it?’ Well, you know, why don’t I start doing something?”

Ms de Lange has an Instagram account called ‘Grosstralia’, where she posts photos of some of the huge rubbish hauls collected during walks.

Some days, she said, she collects up to five kilograms of rubbish.

“Every walk it differs a bit, sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less. Generally, I would say it’s between one and five kilos per walk. I walk five or six times a week,” she said.

“Sometimes I can’t fill my red bin with all that rubbish. Sometimes other people help me get rid of the rubbish though, so that’s good.”

The most important thing in the fight against littering, Ms de Lange believes, is raising awareness.

“It’s estimated that about 80 per cent of litter on the streets ends up in waterways. I think a lot of people don’t realise where it ends up, it ends up in rivers and eventually it ends up in the ocean. I think a lot of people don’t realise that,” she said.

“I’d love it if other people started litter picking up too…have some pride in the town, help keep it clean. There’s a lot of rubbish in Victoria in general, if more people started picking it up, that’d be great.”

With the year just a quarter of the way through, Ms de Lange has picked up around 800 cans and 500 plastic bottles.